The East Mediterranean Basin (EMB) : a highly sensitive environment under considerable pressures. Future decadal projections point to the EMB as a possible hot spot of poor air quality and predict a continual and gradual warming in the region, much stronger than other regions. The increase and accumulation of anthropogenic emissions of gaseous and particulate pollutants from surrounding urban areas, are suspected as one of the key compounding factors of those environmental impacts. Recent experiments in the framework of the TRANSEMED initiative have shown very high pollution loadings like VOCs (see figure – courtesy Salameh et al., 2015 – EC)
High pollution loadings but still uncertainties in anthropogenic emissions : The quantification of emission distribution is a challenge, and even more in cities of the EMB where local emission data are sparse. While some highly resolved inventories have been developed at the regional scale in the EMB area for Beirut and Istanbul, their uncertainties are unknown. In addition, there is a strong need for developing better emission inventories in the Middle East region at a whole. The paucity of observations in this region, especially for VOCs and PM composition, is a strong limitation to the achievement of evaluated and accurate emission inventories.
Air Pollution: among the most important risk for human health in the East Mediterranean : According to a study of the World Health Organization (WHO) published on the 25th of March 2014, "in 2012 more than 400 000 Eastern Mediterranean (includes Iran, Irak, Pakistan, Afghanistan, UAE and Sudan) citizens died prematurely as a result of air pollution". WHO is convinced that ambient air pollution is among the most important risks to health in the region. As such, air pollution has become "one of the top priorities" of WHO in the region and "was identified by the Regional Environmental Health Strategy and Action Plan 2014-19 which was endorsed by the 60th session of the EM Regional Committee" in February 2014 ( ref. EM/RC60/12-E).
Goal of the workshop : The goal of the workshop aims at discussing an integrated and innovative strategy in order to assess the state of atmospheric pollution and its health impacts at urban and EMB scales, at present and for the next decades. Most recent results on this topics and open issues will be discussed. In particular, the workshop will include a session on health impact of air pollution in the southern and eastern Mediterranean countries towards a future regional health impact assessment of short term and long-term impact of air pollution based on new tools of air pollution exposure (satellite, remote sensors, modeling..).
Themes to be addressed during the workshop : (i) observations as constraints for emissions (incl. ECOCEM, TRANSEMED), (ii) anthropogenic emissions in the Mediterranean: sources, pollutants, spatial and temporal variability (iii) air quality and regional climate change in the EMB (iv) Mitigation (iiv) Health Impacts