During pollution peaks, this department informs residents and announces any traffic restriction measures decided on by the town hall. Air quality has distinctly improved over the past two years and these restrictions are becoming less frequent" (Energy Agency of Municipality, 2001). These are all local methods of measuring pollution.
Another means through which one can measure the level of CO2 in the air and which was used in Italy is with portable monitors which "measure ultrafine particles" in the air. An experiment done using these mechanisms found out that the level of pollutant particles in the room of a home nearby a thoroughfare is indeed worrisome. More precisely, "Tommaso Abbate, 16, found that the pollution levels at night in his living room were "really high" - 200 micrograms per cubic meter at one point" (Rosenthal, 2007) a result which on the long run can seriously affect the health of the population and of the people living near busy traffic points.
Effects on the population
Air pollution is one of the most difficult stresses for the human health because one cannot escape its effects. Although pollution in general is a negative aspect of the globalization and of the way in which our society has evolved, air pollution is an aspect which affects every human individual regardless of his residence because it affects the actual air we breathe. Pollution is affecting in the end our health through different sicknesses.
One of the most important effects of air pollution is related to respiratory problems. More precisely, "Carbon monoxide and photochemical pollutants (nitrogen dioxide, ozone) appear to be determinants of acute respiratory conditions in Rome. Since carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide are good indicators of combustion products from traffic related sources, the detected effect may be due to unmeasured fine and ultrafine particles" (Fusco et al., 2001). These results were obvious from the attempts to monitor the cases of respiratory diseases in Rome for a certain period of time. It was concluded that in times of great pollution when the weather conditions are not favorable, the level of admissions with respiratory diseases is higher.
The most concerning aspect of the research conducted in this area is represented though by the studies made in North Italy which suggest that people can have serious heart problems as a result of pollution. In this sense, in Lombardy for instance "air pollution has been associated with increased short- and long-term morbidity and mortality from heart diseases and strokes and that hypercoagulability and enhanced thrombosis have been indicated as one mechanistic pathway that mediates such effects" (Hughes, 2008). From this point-of-view, it is clear that pollution affects us directly and indirectly and all aspects of our health. Moreover, it touches on one particular area of our health and manages to interfere with the entire immune system. Aside from the human disaster pollution causes, its effects have repercussions for the future generations as well taking into account the fact that pollution can also affect the reproduction system in both sexes.
Measures taken by the authorities
One of the first measures to be taken is the information of the population because there is a constant need to have a society which is informed about the perils of pollution. Taking into account the fact that one important source of pollution in Italy is transportation, the state with the financial assistance of the European Union created a communication campaign with the aim of informing the society about the implications of car pollution. In this sense, the "Campaign to monitor vehicle emissions: "Bollino blu" as well as "a program of financial incentives to promote the use of electric vehicles (scooters, mopeds), in 2000" created a greater sense of awareness among the population (Energy Agency of Municipality of Naples, 2001).
There are also legislative initiatives that must be taken into account. The European Union as well as the World Health Organization proposed certain guidelines for emission reduction for states which have a high level of pollution. Still, there are certain criteria which must be met concerning Italy. In this sense, "the European Union proposed a target two years ago for ultrafine particles, those smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter. The EU proposal for such particles, 25 micrograms per cubic meter, is well above the WHO recommendation of 10 or the U.S. standard of 15" (Rosenthal, 2007). There are also several critics concerning these standards as many specialists view them as too high and as easy to overrule by the national states. Nonetheless, it is important to bear in mind the fact that in the end these standards are created in order to ensure that better air can be available for the population.
Overall, it can be said that pollution represents indeed a major issue for the Italian state and action must be taken in order to reduce the quantity of polluting agents because in time this will affect the health of the population.
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