Assessment of health benefits related to air quality improvement strategies in urban areas: An Impact Pathway Approach


Air pollution is, increasingly, a concern to our society given the threats to human health and the environment. Concerted actions to improve air quality have been taken at different levels, such as through the development of Air Quality Plans (AQPs). However, air quality impacts associated with the implementation of abatement measures included in AQPs are often neglected. In order to identify the major gaps and strengths in current knowledge, a literature review has been performed on existing methodologies to estimate air pollution-related health impacts and subsequent external costs. Based on this review, the Impact Pathway Approach was adopted and applied within the context of the MAPLIA research project to assess the health impacts and benefits (or avoided external costs) derived from improvements in air quality. Seven emission abatement scenarios, based on individual and combined abatement measures, were tested for the major activity sectors (traffic, residential and industrial combustion and production processes) of a Portuguese urban area (Grande Porto) with severe particular matter (PM10) air pollution problems. Results revealed a strong positive correlation between population density and health benefits obtained from the assessed reduction scenarios. As a consequence, potential health benefits from reduction scenarios are largest in densely populated areas with high anthropic activity and, thus, where air pollution problems are most alarming. Implementation of all measures resulted in a reduction in PM10 emissions by almost 8%, improving air quality by about 1% and contributing to a benefit of 8.8 million euro/year for the entire study domain. The introduction of PM10 reduction technologies in industrial units was the most beneficial abatement measure. This study intends to contribute to policy support for decision-making on air quality management.


Silveira, C. Roebeling, P. Lopes, M. Ferreira, J. Costa, S. Teixeira, J. P. Borrego, C. Miranda, A. I.


Journal of Environmental Management, 2016


Adolescent, Aged, Air Pollution/*adverse effects/*analysis/prevention & control, Child, Child, Presc