According to the World Health Organization, 99% of the world’s population breathes toxic air; standards were defined in 2021

Air quality will be monitored and will have to adapt to protect the health of the population and the environment throughout Brazil. A calendar organized by Conama (National Environmental Council) determines 5 steps for the country to reach the standard determined by the WHO (World Health Organization) in 2021.

According to the latest update made by the WHO, in 2022, 99% of the world’s population breathes unhealthy levels of fine particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide, capable of causing cardiovascular, cerebrovascular and respiratory impacts.

In May 2022, motivated by a Direct Action of Unconstitutionality, the Federal Supreme Court considered the standards adopted in the country to be very permissive, favoring high levels of atmospheric contamination. The Court ordered a review of the framework in 24 months. If this did not happen, the WHO guidelines would come into force immediately.

The resolution, approved by Conama and not yet published, defines the dates on which intermediate pollutant emission standards will be tolerated until the national quality standard is reached.

The 1st stage will be carried out until December 31, 2024 and the following 3 stages are scheduled, respectively, for January 1, 2025, 2033 and 2044. The last stage considers the possible anticipation or extension of up to 4 years and will be determined after the completion of the 4th stage.

The Secretary of Urban Environment and Air Quality of the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, Adalberto Maluf, highlighted the importance of determining deadlines: “Every year that we postpone the entry of deadlines and actions means more deaths and loss of life expectancy”.

The measurement must quantify substances such as smoke, carbon monoxide, suspended particles, particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone and lead. For this purpose, the Serpa standard measurement unit was established as micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m³), with the exception of carbon monoxide, which must be measured in parts per million (ppm).

The Ministry of the Environment reported that the new resolution is in line with what determines the National Air Quality Policy, established in May 2024. According to the government, the new air quality standards will also contribute to advances in public policies such as the Plan Climate, which will guide Brazilian climate policy until 2035, the Ecological Transformation Plan and the New Industry Brazil.

After publication of the resolution in the Official Diary of the Union, the ministry and state and district environmental agencies will have up to 18 months to update and publish the “Technical Guide for Monitoring and Assessment of Air Quality”. The document determines methods, frequency and location of sample collection to consolidate the data that will appear in air quality assessment reports.

The 1st report must be consolidated 4 years after the establishment of the stage that defines the intermediate standard of the 3rd stage of the calendar established by Conama.

With information from Agência Brasil.


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