Life+ Respira Project
Life+Respira is a project aimed at showing that through the use of new technologies, along with urban planning and management, like promoting sustainable mobility and bicycle use, it is possible to improve air quality and reduce air pollution.
The project has the added benefits included in socially implying members of the community; some of the actions will be based on the help provided by a team of volunteer cyclists. This way citizens will become the driving force and main beneficiaries of the results.
All the steps proposed in the project are directly related to the improvement of air quality, urban environment and health.
Air quality and urban sustainability
Air quality largely depends on the emission levels of pollutants some human activities give off. Taking into account its effects on health and the environment, fresh air is a major factor in environmental policies and it is also a decisive factor when it comes to quality of life.
Two of the big challenges urban sustainability faces are adapting efficient measures at the same rate cities are changing and developing solutions that fit with the urban planning of a city so that quality of life of the citizens is not further compromised.
Air pollution and health
The exposure to air pollution can spark or exacerbate respiratory illnesses. Every citizen has the right to breathe fresh air, without health and environmental risks. Nonetheless, according to the guidelines for air quality developed by the World Health Organization, serious health risks are derived from the exposure to air pollution in most European cities, and there is a clear relationship between pollution and the increased fatality rate.
Medium-sized cities, like Pamplona, which represent as a whole 80% of the European urban system, are not immune to the problems pollution cause.
Air pollution and mobility
The urban blueprint for expansion adopted by the majority of European cities has made traveling longer distances and the depending on private vehicles a norm.
This causes the traffic volume to increase and hinders people’s mobility. All the while, the amount of people using public transportation or bicycles is reduced.
In Pamplona, 35% of the population uses a private motor vehicle, 13% use public transportation, 49% are pedestrians and 2,5% cyclists.
Air pollution and cyclists
There is a need to develop new transportation alternatives that would contribute to the improvement of the poor air quality that arises as a consequence of the continuous growth of cities and the problems associated with traffic. One effective alternative is promoting bicycle use.
This healthy activity can pose a risk for the cyclists because they are in close contact to pollution sources. Given their breathing rate is double or triple that of car passengers or pedestrians, they take-in greater amounts of the polluting substances.
Various research studies from the University of Navarra in Pamplona, Spain have demonstrated the existence of high levels of damaging polluting substances, like NO2 or Benzene.