Dr Iva Hunova, a Researcher at the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute in Prague visited Wessex Institute of Technology to lecture on Air Quality in the Czech Republic.

The worst pollution occurs in the so-called "black triangle" where Germany, Czech Republic and Poland meet. The 'triangle' has a high density of industrial plants which considerably reduce the air quality. The region is now covered by a network of 640 air sampling stations which measures at 30 minute intervals and at ground level, amongst others, the concentration of SO2, Nox, PM, CO and O2 as well as precipitation and aerosols.

Some of these components have decreased considerably since 1989 as a result of better environmental policies and a reduction in the economic activity following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The efforts to improve the air quality are now also concentrating on particles and aerosols as well as reducing the ozone. The problems in the region are aggravated by the presence of different odours which are a direct source of annoyance to the population.

The Czech Republic is also initiating new measurements and procedures more in line with EU practice and regulations. This involves updating the measurement network. The emphasis is also on setting up more stations in the cities as recommended by the EU. This may involve shutting down some rural stations, which will represent a loss of data in the future.