Evidence of traffic-generated air pollution in Havana

Jessie Madrazo, Alain Clappier, Osvaldo Cuesta, Luis C. Belalcazar, Yosdany González, Javier Bolufé, Carlos Sosa, Ernesto Carrillo, Ricardo Manso, Janet Canciano, François Golay


In Havana, transport is blamed as a likely source of pollution issues, which is usually supported on arguments referring to a vehicle fleet mainly made of old cars (i.e., most models are American from the 1950s or Russian from the 1980s) with poor technical conditions. Most of the existing studies are based on measurements from passive samplers collected for 24 h, which may not be representative of conditions where pollutant concentrations (particles or gases) fluctuate or are not homogeneous, such as transport-related pollution. The goal of this paper is to explore the transport-generated pollution by examining short-time correlations between traffic flows, pollutant concentrations and meteorological parameters. To do that, statistical relationships among all variables were analyzed, which revealed that PM10, NO2 and SO2 concentration levels are influenced by vehicular traffic, mainly with low-speed winds blowing perpendicular to the street axis. Furthermore, southeast and northeast winds force drag pollutionfrom sources other than traffic. These conclusions depend on the specific conditions of the summer season at the measurement area. A more complete analysis could be conducted when more data becomes available for each season.


Air pollution; roadside measurements; traffic source

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