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The information in this text is a technical summary of the work undertaken in the EU FP6 project AquaTerra (Project 
number GOCE505428), which ran from April 2005 until March 2009. The aim of this technical summary is to provide a
concise account of the range and nature of the work undertaken in the project relating to the subject of AIR, in particular
air quality, soil air interactions and monitoring techniques. The intention is to make the work of AquaTerra more
accessible to stakeholders for whom the information could be of value. This document should be read with a view to
following up the work it describes in more detail through the specific project deliverables, which if publically
available can be downloaded from the main project website:

Click here to download a pdf file of the full technical summary


Air quality is becoming an increasingly important issue across the EU, with a particular emphasis on monitoring
persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in the atmosphere in response to international protocols and EU air quality
standards. In addition many countries also have their own national POP monitoring programmes. Some key legislation
related to air pollution and the monitoring of POPs includes:
1. The Stockholm Convention on POPs, implemented through the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP),
signatory countries must conduct source inventories, identify ongoing sources, and provide environmental monitoring
evidence that ambient levels of POPs are declining.
2. An air quality standard is to be adopted within the EU for Polynuclear Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs), due to
health concerns over the carcinogenic properties of this group of compounds; limits for other POPs may follow in
the future.
3. Monitoring requirements for occupational and indoor exposure to airborne POPs.
4. There is an increasing need for national Environment Agencies to identify ‘less obvious’ diffuse sources
of POPs as they seek to reduce emissions further, as many primary sources are controlled more effectively.

At present the majority of monitoring programmes employ active, high volume samplers. The most common active
sampling method uses a pump to draw the air though a sampling module, consisting of a glass fibre filter and an adsorbent
such as polyurethane foam (PUF). These are expensive to operate and maintain; as a result it is not cost-effective
to deploy them in remote areas or in multiple locations at the same time. Hence there is an incentive to develop more
versatile and cost effective sampling techniques. Passive Air Samplers (PAS) are simple to use, cheap, and versatile;
they do not require a power supply and can therefore be deployed in many locations concurrently. As part of the MONITOR
sub project of AquaTerra, a group of experiments developed and tested novel passive sampling and analytical techniques
for airborne pollutants, with a goal of improving understanding of both the atmospheric transport of pollutants
and the interaction between soil and air in relation to pollutant transport. Additional input to research on air
quality and soil air interactions was produced within the FLUX sub project.

This summary is divided into two sections, covering the work undertaken investigating air quality and the work
on soil-air interactions.

Click here to download a pdf file of the full technical summary

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