Air pollution and social vulnerability in the city of Madrid
Air pollution in cities is one of the greatest environmental problems due to its link with human health deterioration. Nevertheless, exposure levels and their impact on health are not homogeneous amongst population groups, but modulated by a number of factors. Indeed, different social groups are particularly affected by higher concentrations of air pollutants in their places of residence and their greater vulnerability to them according to their socioeconomic status. The aim of this work is twofold: (i) to find out whether some vulnerable population groups are exposed to higher concentrations of different pollutants (NO2, O3, PM10 and PM2.5) in the city of Madrid from 2017 to 2021; and (ii) to identify the areas where they are located. This research is carried out through different correlation and spatial statistical analyses derived from spatial models of atmospheric air pollutants and socioeconomic databases. The results show the existence of a negative correlation between PM10 and PM2.5 concentration levels and income levels. There is also a positive correlation between the greater presence of children and foreigners with PM10 levels, between children and O3 levels, and between foreigners and NO2 levels. The areas with the highest presence of vulnerable groups exposed to highest concentrations of NO2, PM10 and PM2.5 are the southern and southeastern districts of the city. Other sectors located in the southern and northern peripheral areas of the city stand out because of the high presence of children exposed to high concentrations of O3.
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