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Posted by
12119 posts

It applies mostly to cities (because of obvious reasons) and mostly in the winter months (because of temperature inversion).

Spending a few weeks in summer at the northern Italian lakes, or in the Alps or Dolomites, or along the coast (Venice also has no car pollution) should not be a problem for anybody.

Posted by
5910 posts

if you have trouble breathing when the air quality is bad, keep this in mind if your plans include northern Italy.

Keep in mind when visiting Los Angeles as well !

Posted by
20957 posts

Ya, and even in Denver when we get the inversions. However, it has not been as bad this year.

Posted by
5507 posts

Kim, air pollution in LA will always be a constant because LA is about cars. However, automobile engineers have done a lot in 30 years to curtail harmful emissions.

I live here.

Took a 3 mile hike in Griffith Park this morning. View from the Tom Labonge Picnic Area I could see Long Beach and Santa Monica clear as a bell. Both between 25-30 miles away. Of course it rained last night so cleared out the smog.

Honestly, I’ll take my states and city’s environmental agencies efforts over yours any day.

Posted by
1546 posts

I know it's easy to make fun of the air quality in LA, but it's much better than it used to be.

We were in Italy in the fall a few years ago and all the farmers were burning off the chaff in their fields, the air quality was abysmal. And I doubt if most European cities have bragging rights about the air, unless perhaps in Scandinavia where everything freezes.

Posted by
11925 posts

Air quality in LA is much better now than it was in the 1950's, when I lived there as a child. The smog was terrible then---it burned your eyes, hurt your throat and chest after an afternoon of swimming in a neighbor's pool. I am surprised my lungs were not permanently damaged.

I saw an article about the air pollution connection with covid deaths in northern Italy early on in the pandemic. But it pointed out the other factors involved as well--- it was the area where the virus was first introduced, and there were some superspreader events like a big soccer match before anyone knew it was there. It spread like wildfire at the ski resorts with the apres-ski partying. Plus there is a significant elderly population in the area, and multi-generational homes, or at least frequent get-togethers between younger and older generations of the family. It spread so fast the hospitals were quickly overwhelmed, leading to the tragedy that occurred.

The same thing almost happened here in Seattle, the first hotspot in the US, where the air is very clean unless we have a wildfire nearby, or a temperature inversion during a time when people are burning wood. Neither of those was at play when the virus made its way through a nursing home in Kirkland, infecting 2/3 of the 120 residents, and many of the staff. In the end 37 people died, a very high percentage. But we were about 2 weeks behind Italy, and the healthcare professionals were on the lookout for this to arise, and acted quickly to stop the community spread.

We now have an air quality monitor in our home, after the smoke experience we had late last summer. Right now it reads 0 for indoor particulates, and 7 for outdoor. But it is interesting to see what happens when I cook, especially if I sauté or fry something. The numbers will go up significantly, unless we open windows and/or turn on the kitchen fan. What I don't understand is why it went up to 120 when I baked a batch of brownies. 😩

Posted by
186 posts

Air quality in Northern Italy is an issue since a long time. There are two problems: the most of industries are concentrated in the north and the Padan valley is surrounded by mountains (except on east, where there is the Adriatic sea). A third effect is that is densely populated! Being a closed valley there aren't so many regular winds who kept the air moving, so pollution stay here.
The burning brunches and chaff doesn't affect the pollution level: is high at any moment. Officially is forbidden, but if you burn only few things you are not fined.
In winter, when all heating systems are working, the pollution is of course much higher. In fact often we have days where not everybody can use the car: it isn't helping very much, but is better than nothing.
Is northern Italy worst than Los Angeles? I'm not sure, but LA is on the sea with wind, so I suppose is much better. If I watch some datas I have the confirmation. For example comparing the PM10 (thin dust) map the level is different. LA https://aqicn.org/city/losangeles/los-angeles-north-main-street/ versus Emilia-Romagna https://www.arpae.it/it/temi-ambientali/aria (in real time). The color legend is different, so reading better isn't very different. In the Emilia-Romagna map all datas are collected in the center of cities and towns. The weather was quite sunny in the last weeks, so the air quality is worst: the rain cleans!