Barcelona, with centuries of well-planned streets, is one of the most dense cities in Europe, but while it may escape too much sprawl, its air quality is not ideal.
The problems are both geographic- it is surrounded by mountains on several sides which prevent the air from circulating- and a result of the type of traffic here. That is, all the motorbikes and diesel engines contribute to the high levels of nitrogen dioxide.
The EU limit for NO2 is 42 micrograms per cubic meter; Barcelona in early 2010 reached 46. This is cause for concern, given that research indicates that long-term exposure to high NO2 levels can decrease lung function and increase risk of respiratory illnesses.
In this video, faircompanies’ Nicolás Boullosa talks about the problem and a few solutions and why this city is ideal for an electric future.