Air Break to reduce air pollution
27 July 2020 | Written by La redazione
FBK participates in the project coordinated by the Municipality of Ferrara. The experimentation envisages a strategy based on data collection and citizen collaboration, integrating a series of important investments and infrastructural realizations.
Cities are often real basins where air pollution remains and accumulates. In fact, according to the latest report from the European Environment Agency, it is the most important environmental risk for human health. Looking at the data for 2019, the Po Valley is considered one of the most polluted areas in the world with high levels of pollutants such as CO and NO2, and numbers comparable to the largest global metropolises. In the Po area, the city of Ferrara is among the most affected, with serious consequences both on the environment and on the health of citizens. To address this problem, the Bruno Kessler Foundation will participate in the Air Break Project, funded under the European Urban Innovative Actions Program, an EU initiative that provides urban areas with resources to test innovative and experimental solutions.
The Air Break Project. Through bold and innovative solutions the Air Break Project aims to reduce air pollution by 25% in selected areas of the city and to address related issues, such as commuting problems, the lack of urban green spaces and the lack of updated quality information air. The experimentation envisages a strategy based on data collection and on an approach focused on citizen participation and integrating a series of important investments and infrastructure projects.
Specifically, its main objectives are: to increase knowledge on the distribution of air pollution in the city, and on the basis of these implement a series of actions aimed at drastically reducing it with new strategies based on nature, focusing on sustainable mobility and cycle paths, increasing green areas; raise citizens’ awareness of environmental health problems in relation to air pollution, increasing their active participation to induce behavioral change; promoting the integrated AIR BREAK model as an example of an alliance between citizens and administration in Italy and Europe.
A competition on the latest project. 5 million euros have been allocated for the Air Break Project, of which 80% financed by the European Union. The great availability of economic resources for this European Program meant that the competition for funding was really intense. Indeed, of the 222 proposals submitted by the cities of the 23 EU Member States, only 11 projects have been selected, representing less than 5% of the total number of candidates. “Few Italian cities can boast the victory of a UIA Call – stresses Councilor Balboni – and finally, after many years of attempts by the last administrations, Ferrara can also count this boast and this important result”. After a very competitive evaluation process (only 14 proposals have been identified for operational evaluation), these 11 projects have been selected for their innovativeness and for their ability to establish solid local partnerships with the right mix of complementary partners, in view experimentation with pilot projects.
Ferrara therefore, among the 11 selected European urban authorities, has the opportunity to experiment with innovative, smart and sustainable solutions to face the main challenges related to the topic of air quality. The Project widely promotes the integration of objectives and actions in a transversal and integrated manner with a significant involvement of the private sector (large companies and SMEs), education and research institutes and local stakeholders at local and regional level. Through a holistic – total, covering multiple areas of human life – and bottom-up approach, Air Break will involve citizens and stakeholders to go beyond the collection of air quality data and its monitoring approach ; concrete actions will be implemented to transform the “high emission dark areas” into “increased green healthy areas”. The project places its innovation in the integration of complementary solutions: in-depth knowledge of air pollution, innovative models to encourage clean commuting and gentle mobility. The solutions focus on nature and smart models to reduce air pollutants, accompanied by a co-creation approach and reward mechanisms for virtuous citizens.