AQ-SERVE will combine innovative technical developments with new scientific knowledge on the characterization and prediction of air quality in order to provide an evaluation of the health impact and risk assessment of air pollution in Cyprus. Different scenarios (abatement measures) will be tested in a coupled Air Quality/Health & Risk model with the objective to define efficient mitigation measures which can be translated to the public authorities (National Air Quality Action Plan).
- Cost-effective atmospheric sensors
- Integrated Cyprus Atmospheric Network
- Advanced Visual Interfaces/Analytics – Cyprus Centre AQ database
- Operational Air Quality Modelling platform
- Aerosol properties over Cyprus
- Improving the National Emission Inventory
- Gas and Aerosol representation and prediction
- Health Risk Assessment/Health Impact
Cyprus is centrally located in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East (EMME), a region with a population of about 400 million, affected by dust storms, dryness, heat extremes and unparalleled air pollution. The EMME has been identified as one of the few climate change “hot spots”, with adverse impacts by extreme weather events and poor air quality, which are expected to exacerbate in the coming decades. Air pollution, especially particulate matter (PM), plays a crucial role in regional climate (temperature, precipitation) and has major adverse health effects. Estimates of the health impacts attributable to exposure to air pollution indicate that fine PM concentrations (PM 2.5) are responsible for about 432,000 premature deaths due to long-term exposure in Europe. With 100% of the Cypriot population being exposed in 2015 to PM concentrations substantially exceeding EU Air Quality limits, ca. 400 premature deaths and 8,000 years of life lost per year are attributable to PM in Cyprus (EEA, 2015). Air pollution associated with PM has considerable environmental and public health impacts in Cyprus, including also major economic consequences, e.g. increased medical costs and reduced productivity through the loss of working days. A better evaluation through fundamental research of the underlying mechanisms induced by exposure to poor air quality (stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, chronic and acute respiratory diseases, etc.) associated with epidemiological studies will better quantify the health impact of air pollution and help justify mitigation measures. On the other hand, they will be missing the capacity to select the most efficient mitigation measures and provide a quantitative evaluation of their effectiveness and benefits. This evaluation (currently missing) is a critical need for the public authorities before updating the National Air Quality Action with new abatement measures. The AQ-SERVE project has been designed to fill this gap and to provide the best scientific/technological resources to select the most efficient abatement measures to improve Air Quality in Cyprus with immediate benefits on public health and the economy and the environment.
More specifically, novel mobile platforms with great innovation potential (e.g. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, UAVs) and new cost-effective miniaturized atmospheric sensors will be developed, optimized and tested in real-world conditions to overcome current limitation in the monitoring/control of air quality. A spatially-resolved up-to-date national emission inventory that complies with EU directives, and new information on PM sources and their geographic distribution will support the first national Air Quality (AQ) model platform with forecasting capacities. This AQ model will serve the public authorities to better adapt during extreme events (dust, smog, industrial hazards) and test different abatement scenarios (e.g. switch to natural gas for power generation) in order to provide quantitative estimates of the effectiveness mitigation measures in air quality and update accordingly the National Action Plan for Air Quality. A Cyprus Central Air Quality Database built during AQ-SERVE will gather all atmospheric observations available in Cyprus (e..g. meteorological and air quality network, research monitoring activities, air quality maps archive) and will constitute an open-access reference to any scientific research (public health, climate, etc.). A comprehensive health risk assessment/health impact evaluation will be performed (e.g. air pollution exposure map, impact of AQ scenarios on health including cost benefit analysis).
The Integrated Project AQ-SERVE is designed from its very beginning to fill all the critical gaps that currently prevent the government of the republic of Cyprus to implement efficient mitigation policies to improve air quality. Efforts will be put for that purpose to shape and transfer the project’s results at the closest of the public authority’s needs. In the context of more stringent EU environmental policies, the difficulties of the government of Cyprus to comply with them, the Integrated Project scheme funded under RPF will provide the means and resources to establish a highly competitive consortium that gathers a unique combination of knowledge, skills, and cutting-edge infrastructure that will be further integrated to tackle with the highest priorities urgent Air Quality issues. With the mission to build a solid base in RTDI in order to facilitate the implementation of EU environmental policies in Cyprus, AQ-SERVE will also provide sustainable resources (services/products) to maintain the consortium at a high level of international scientific competitiveness in the domain and facilitate the access to huge strategic markets (Middle East, North Africa) in which air pollution is a major issue that will even exacerbate in the near future.
The Integrated Project AQ-SERVE will form the basic tool for carrying out research projects related to Environmental Health and therefore address both the relevant subtopics “Environment” (transverse priority) and “Health” (vertical priority) targeted by the Smart Specialisation Strategy of Cyprus (S 3 Cy: S 3 Cy English summary : http://s3platform.jrc.ec.europa.eu/documents/20182/89368/CYPRUS-FIN.pdf/e121f421-bdb3-48b8-9744-2e6a95e01ab9) with implications in other priority sectors (Tourism, Energy, Agriculture). It will contribute to:
- Diagnosis – Prevention /Risk Factors (exposure to environmental factors) and
- Promoting of Public Health and Quality of Life (impact of physical exercise, dietary habits and climate change – biomonitoring and risk assessment). They will also target the S3Cy Environment priority (in order of priority):
- Adaptation to Climate Change, Prevention and Risk Management (e.g. Addressing Desertification; Climate Change Impacts on other sectors)
- Control and Protection from Pollution (e.g. Reduction and Rational Waste management; Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions)
- Eco-Innovation (e.g. Development of New “Green” Products and Processes);
- Horizontal Applications (e.g. Development of Integrated and Sustainable Observation Systems for Environmental Monitoring and Information Systems).