Nitrogen dioxide levels in North Cyprus are quite high, Professor of Environmental Engineering at the Faculty of Engineering at Marmara University Mete Tayanç has said, Kıbrıs Gazetesi reported.
Data from the Sentinel 5P satellite, which takes air pollution measurements within the framework of the European Space Agency’s Copernicus programme, shows the density of nitrogen dioxide in the TRNC is fairly higher and pollution is higher in the north of the island compared to the south, he said.
The pollution is from the Tekenecik and Kalecik power plants which provide 90% of North Cyprus’ electricity. The high density of traffic is the other culprit.
Research Into Effect On Health
A team from the University of Athens led by Evangelia Samoli has been researching the effects of nitrogen dioxide gas for three years. According to the research, it was determined that ten micrograms of nitrogen dioxide gas in one cubic metre of air increased the risk of death by 0.3%. Additionally, Sulfur dioxide, causes numerous health problems such as pulmonary edema, heart failure, circulatory problems, asthma, chronic bronchitis, increased illness and deaths in the elderly and infants.
Professor Tayanç said that aside from the cost to human health, plants and animals were negatively affected by nitrogen dioxide emissions produced by burning fuel oil at high temperatures from the two power stations.
Tayanç said, “Emissions are increasing as is the human demand. Everyone is responsible for this situation”. He went on to say, “Yes, the state runs old-style power plants, uses fuel-oil, and these emissions are real, but we demand more, we waste electricity and we never adopt energy-saving methods“.
He believes that traffic emissions are worse than the power plants, Tayanç said, “When you look at it now, there are two to three cars in every household. We use a lot of vehicles. The stopping and starting of vehicles is the biggest cause of air pollution”.
Professor Tayanç pointed out that when lockdown was in place across Europe, nitrogen dioxide in the atmosphere fell by between 50-60%.
To reduce emissions, the two power plants need to have catalytic converters fitted, the use of vehicles needs to be reduced and solar power should be more widely available in a country that has 300 days of sunshine per year, he said.