NPI researchers measured air pollution caused by New Year's fireworks

03. 01. 2022

Researchers from the Department of Radiation Dosimetry of the NPI of the CAS, in cooperation with the Thunderfly company from Sobeslav, measured airborne dust during New Year's fireworks.

The measurements took place in the ATZ (Aerodrome traffic zone) of Soběslav Airport near Chlebov village, approximately 2.5 km from the center of Soběslav in the wind direction, from 31 December 2021 to 1 January 2022.  

The researchers used a special gyroscope-type drone (ThunderFly TF-G2) with the TF-ATMON measuring system, which allows the measurement of atmospheric parameters even in adverse weather conditions. Solid particles from 0.1 to 500 μm in size, dispersed in the atmosphere, were measured.

One hour after midnight, a two-fold increase in airborne dust was measured compared to the control measurement at 7 pm the previous day. The increase in concentration was uniform at all levels of the atmosphere from the ground up to 300 meters above the ground where the measurement took place. An increase was observed in the finest dust up to 0.5 µm in size. Due to the uniformity of the pollution, it was probably not directly the dust generated by the firing of pyrotechnics in the Soběslav area, but the dispersed dust generated by fireworks in other places as well.

"There was a strong wind, which reached a speed of up to 50 km/h at an altitude of about 300 m. Our drone can cope with such conditions", commented Roman Dvořák, who drove the drone from the ground.

"Due to strong winds at higher altitudes, the dispersion conditions were good and the local air pollution was less. However, fine dust particles can travel in the atmosphere for thousands of kilometers", adds Martin Kákona (NPI).

According to the European Environment Agency (EEA), airborne dust causes 417,000 premature deaths in Europe each year, of which over 10,000 in the Czech Republic. You can read the full air status report here.

The TF-ATMON system was used for the measurement, which took third place in the international competition MyGalileoDrone, organized by the European Space Agency (EUSPA). The system can be used to monitor air pollutants in the vicinity of human dwellings. Its task is to locate the sources of these substances and determine the amount of pollutants discharged.

Pictures in original quality can be found here.


The trajectory of the performed measuring flight recorded by the onboard avionics

Photos: Roman Dvořák, NPI of the CAS