ACEPT-AIR - Development of A Cost Efficient Policy Tool for reduction of Particulate Matter in AIR

LIFE09 ENV/GR/000289

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Contact details:

Contact person: Lila DIAPOULI
Tel: +30 210 6503008
Email: ldiapouli@ipta.demokritos.gr

Project description:


Despite improvements in air quality, levels of particulate matter (PM) remain a concern across the European Union. Evidence shows that fine particulates (PM2.5) are the most detrimental to human health, but coarser fractions (PM of 2.5 to 10 μm diameter) are also problematic. An EU directive proposing comprehensive monitoring of ambient levels in urban areas is a necessary first step to reducing exposure of citizens to the high risks from PM2.5. A reduction of 20% relative to average concentrations is the target set for all Member States, to be attained between 2010 and 2020. High ambient PM concentrations have been recorded in Greece. Although national air monitoring programmes record PM2.5 and PM10 levels at fixed operating stations, specifically nine stations in the project study areas, more information on source apportionment is needed to enable concrete measures targeting emission sources to be implemented.


The ACEPT-AIR project aimed to distinguish sources of particulate matter that lead to concentrations exceeding limits set by EU legislation. In order to achieve this objective, the project sought to determine quantitative weighed contributions caused by human versus natural sources in areas above limit values. A key objective was to develop a database to detail the anthropogenic emission source strength and the naturally emitted primary and secondary materials, so that authorities could adopt and evaluate control strategies.


The ACEPT-AIR project recorded detailed airborne PM levels at three urban locations in Greece: Athens, Thessaloniki and Volos. This information was processed through a software tool for pollution source distribution assessment, and was made publically available on a database. Six emission inventories for the three urban areas, with two types of source identification (anthropogenic and natural) were produced, along with guidelines for effective action plans to reduce PM emissions.

The project compiled time-series (historical data) for PM10 and PM2.5 to observe trends in air pollution. Historical data was obtained from air monitoring stations of the Ministry of Environment and the Municipality of Thessaloniki, scientific reports and published articles, and data previously collected by the beneficiaries. Coordinating beneficiary NCSR also developed and verified analytical techniques for a range of trace metals in urban air.

During the last decade, mean concentrations of PM10 for summer were found to be below the limit value for all three urban areas, although exceedances were recorded at traffic intersections. However, winter measurements were significantly above the target values. In Athens, PM10 levels were above the 50 ug/m3 limit value for one-third of the measurement days, while in Volos the levels exceeded the limit value during 70% of the measurement days. This was attributed to the increase in residential wood burning.

A comprehensive chemical characterisation and mass determination of the two particulate matter fractions, PM10 and PM2.5, was conducted in the three cities, during cold and warm seasons in 2011 and 2012, with emission sources distinguished as either anthropogenic or natural in origin. Mitigation measures were elaborated which can be used for the formulation of a national Action Plan on PM reduction. The application of the tool and the information generated by the project is expected to improve the capacity of decision-makers to meet the requirements of EC Air Quality Directive (2008/50/EC), as well as WHO guidelines for the protection of human health.

Emission inventories were compiled by associated beneficiary AXON, while emissions from natural sources were assessed by the Technical University of Crete (TUC). Despite significant African dust loads contributing to PM10 concentrations, it was found that most exceedances are still attributed to anthropogenic sources; although severe fire events in certain years (2000 and 2007) were responsible for many of the exceedances.

The project developed a user-friendly software tool, the Operational Platform Policy

Tool, to estimate levels of PM reduction based on different emission scenarios and the application of control measures. End-users can respond to environmental issues, specific to particulate matter concentrations and target their response to specific PM sources. The tool therefore provides the means to take informed decisions based on quantified PM reductions and to guide policy decisions aiming to reduce PM levels. The ACEPT-AIR Operational Platform Policy Tool is based on innovative software relating PM concentrations with emissions. The project team produced a guide and a manual for the tool, which are available to the public free of charge. The tool can be easily updated with data from future years and can be applied for other regions and cities besides the three used in the project.

Ten measures were proposed to reduce PM pollution from road traffic, including low emission zones, street cleaning, promoting new technology for low emission vehicles, expanding public transport and reducing fares. Key stakeholders were consulted throughout the project's duration, and a scientific advisory body periodically reviewed outputs and provided suggestions. The project trained 110 educators in the three cities.

Dissemination actions comprised a website, brochures and leaflets, a DVD, public awareness-raising at events, technical seminars, an ACEPT-AIR international conference, and a series of scientific publications.

Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report (see "Read more" section).


Environmental issues addressed:


Air & Noise - Air quality monitoring


public health‚  human exposure to pollutants‚  decision making support‚  emission reduction‚  air pollution

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator N.C.S.R. “Demokritos”
Type of organisation Research institution
Description In 1985, Demokritos, Greece's National Centre for Scientific Research (NCSR), became a self-governing public legal entity under the supervision of the General Secretariat for Research and Technology Development. Its primary goal is to promote research in physics, chemistry, microelectronics, biology, informatics, telecommunications, nuclear technology and radioactivity.
Partners University of Thessaly, Greece University of Thessaloniki, Greece AXON Envirogroup Ltd., Greece Technical University of Crete, Greece


Project reference LIFE09 ENV/GR/000289
Duration 01-SEP-2010 to 31-AUG -2014
Total budget 1,750,040.00 €
EU contribution 836,449.00 €
Project location Anatoliki Makedonia, Thraki(Ellas) Thessalia(Ellas) Attiki(Ellas)


Read more:

Project web site Project's website
Publication: After-LIFE Communication Plan After-LIFE Communication Plan
Publication: Article-Paper Title: "Assessing PM10 source reduction in urban agglomerations for air quality compliance, in: Journal of Environmental Monitoring, 14, pp. 266-278" (http://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2012/em/c1em10673b) Author: Aleksandropoulou V., Eleftheriadis K., Diapouli E. Year: 2012 Editor: Royal Society of Chemistry No of pages: 12
Publication: Article-Paper Title: “The effect of forest fires in emissions of biogenic volatile organic compounds and windblown dust over urban areas, in: Air Quality, Atmosphere and Health, 6, 1, pp. 277-294" (http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11869-012-0170-y) Author: Aleksandropoulou V., Torseth K., Lazaridis M. Year: 2012 Editor: Springer No of pages: 17
Publication: Article-Paper Title: "Atmospheric emission inventory for natural and anthropogenic sources and spatial emission mapping for the Greater Athens Area, in: Water, Air & Soil Pollution, Vol. 219, pp. 507–526" (http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11270-010-0724-2) Author: Aleksandropoulou V., Torseth K., Lazaridis M. Year: 2011 Editor: Springer International Publishing AG No of pages: 19
Publication: Article-Paper Title: "Identification of the Influence of African Dust on PM10 Concentrations at the Athens Air Quality Monitoring during the Period 2001-2010, in: Journal of Aerosol and Air Quality Research, 13:1492-1503" (http://www.aaqr.org/Doi.php?id=9_AAQR-12-12-OA-0363) Author: Aleksandropoulou V., Lazaridis M. Year: 2013 Editor: Taiwan Association for Aerosol Research No of pages: 11
Publication: Article-Paper Title: "Organic and elemental carbon associated to PM10 and PM2.5 at urban sites on northern Greece, in: Journal of Environmental Science Pollution Research, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 1769-1785" (http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11356-013-2052-8) Author: Samara C., Voutsa D., Kouras A., et al. Year: 2013 Editor: Springer International Publishing AG No of pages: 16
Publication: Layman report Layman report
Publication: Technical report Project's Final technical report


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