Le aree più inquinate al mondo? L’Africa e l’Asia orientale

di Marco Mancini 58

Se si pensa alle nazioni più inquinate al mondo, vengono automaticamente in mente la Cina e gli Stati Uniti. Ma queste sono sicuramente le più inquinanti, non le più inquinate, in quanto diversi fattori atmosferici, primo fra tutti il vento, spostano l’aria “malata” in altre zone.

Gli scienziati conoscono da tempo l’impatto potenzialmente letale dell’inquinamento atmosferico, ma fino ad ora un calcolo globale preciso era fuori portata. Con le nuove immagini satellitari, tuttavia, i ricercatori hanno finalmente dato la prima occhiata a come il particolato è distribuito in tutto il mondo, e i luoghi dove l’inquinamento dell’aria era stato difficile da misurare con precisione a causa dell’arretratezza tecnologica. Un passo importante verso una migliore comprensione di un problema che gli epidemiologi dicono contribuisce a milioni di morti premature ogni anno.

Nel mondo sviluppato, gli strumenti a terra sono da anni utilizzati per misurare i livelli di particolato sottile nocivo, che è di 2,5 micrometri o meno di diametro. Si tratta di particelle talmente piccole che, dicono i ricercatori, raggiungono le profondità dei polmoni e possono contribuire ad asma e bronchiti, fino ad altri gravi problemi di salute. Purtroppo, molti luoghi dei Paesi in via di sviluppo non hanno avuto modo di ricevere misurazioni precise della qualità dell’aria.

I satelliti utilizzati per misurare l’inquinamento in prossimità della superficie del pianeta hanno facilitato il compito. Con le informazioni raccolte da due satelliti della NASA, i ricercatori Aaron van Donkelaar e Martin Randall della Dalhousie University, in Canada, hanno utilizzato modelli al computer per generare una mappa che mostra come le particelle sottili sono distribuite in tutto il mondo.

Mentre alcune delle particelle sono già presenti in natura, in particolare in luoghi ventosi dove vengono sollevate in aria, le attività umane sono largamente responsabili della maggior parte di esse. Aree ad alto tasso di urbanizzazione, come la Cina orientale, mostrano livelli più elevati di inquinamento atmosferico. La combustione del carbone, e del combustibile diesel si pensa siano responsabili di tali picchi, anche se i ricercatori stanno lavorando per l’aggiornamento della mappa per riflettere antropicamente e naturalmente l’inquinamento atmosferico.

In ogni caso si può vedere come l’area rossa, dunque quella più inquinata, sia quella del Nord Africa, a causa dell’azione dei venti che trasportano gran parte dell’inquinamento europeo in aree in cui, a causa dei deserti, le particelle si fermano e ammorbano l’aria. Discorso simile per India e Asia orientale.

Fonte: [Treehugger]

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