you breathe
when you

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What substances are in the air?

What pollutants are there?

Pollution reduces air quality and affects people's health. Do you know which components affect us the most?


Click on each glass container and find out how each pollutant is generated and how it affects your health.

Click to begin

What is the level of pollution in Barcelona ?

You may be surprised to learn about the quality of Barcelona's air. See if you can rank these cities according to how polluted they are. Drag the city's icon to the position you think it should occupy and when you finish, you'll see the actual results!


NOx(μg/m3) Mean Distribution Comparison


WHO’s levels recommendation and PM10 measurements in Barcelona by monitoring stations

Barcelona continually monitors air-quality levels at various points in the city. In 2015, there was a general increase in the levels of PMx particles and nitrogen oxides, due to an increase in motorised traffic. 

Data - Evaluation of the Air Quality in Barcelona - Public Health Agency (2015)


World Health Organization

  • Zona Universitària
  • Sants
  • Gràcia-Sant Gervasi
  • Plaça Universitat
  • Poblenou

Summary of compliance with WHO and EU limits for major air pollutants

According to the annual air-quality analysis, Barcelona just complies with legal European limits but does not meet the safety limits established by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Above all, it does not comply with the most important limits for particles and nitrogen oxides.


Mean Average NO2 Top hour NO2 Mean Average PM10 Top hour PM10 Threshold information O3 Top 8 - hours O3
Heavy traffic EU
Moderate traffic EU
Urban EU

How pollution is generated

Briefly, the main cause of this pollution is too many motorised vehicles in the city. Between 40% and 60% of suspended particles, the most harmful pollutant, come from motorised traffic, especially diesel-powered vehicles. And 70% of the second most harmful pollutant, nitrogen oxide, is also produced by motorised traffic.

The following diagram ranks modes of transport in descending order according to how polluting they are. Click to get a bit more information on each one of them.

Barcelona is the city with the highest vehicle density in Europe

This is not a very nice record, but Barcelona has over six thousand cars per square kilometre. That is double the figure for Madrid and more than three times the number for London, for example. 


How does pollution affect your health?

Based on epidemiological studies in the Barcelona area, it has been calculated that every year pollution causes:

According to studies made in Barcelona, 659 deaths are related to pollution (data from 2011)


Are you especially vulnerable ?

Vulnerable people need to take special care when pollution is at its highest. You can get more information on high pollution episodes and forecasts at www.barcelona.cat/qualitataire




The quality of the air we breathe also affects our olfactory senses and we therefore miss out on a world of aromas every day. Click on the bubbles to see quotations from poems that remind us how important clean air is.


We are commited to the air

Barcelona City Council has already introduced some changes to foster sustainable mobility which include:

-Strengthening public transport, beginning with the rollout of the orthogonal bus network and linking up the tramlines on Av Diagonal.

-Opting for bicycles, with an investment of €32 million to achieve a 300-kilometre bicycle lane network by 2018.

-Reclaiming quality urban space for pedestrians with new urban models such as the superblocks.

-Replacing the bus fleet, as well as street-cleaning and city police vehicles, with new clean vehicles (gas, electric and hybrids), which now make up 40% of these fleets.

-Setting up a committee to combat air pollution and a working group of experts to put forward measures for dealing with episodes, as well as structural measures.

Further information:




Do you know what you breathe
when you breathe?

Have a go at answering a few questions about air and pollution. If you get five correct answers, you can share the experience and spread the knowledge by using a ranking. 

Clica sobre les bombolles per respondre a més preguntes  


  • {[ranking]}

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.

A Nitrogen

B Carboni

A  B


Introduce your code to be registerd in the ranking

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