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Photochemical air pollutant levels and ozone phytotoxicity in the region of Mesogia–Attica, Greece

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The levels of photochemical air pollutants: O3, NO and NO2, were monitored in Athens and in the neighbouring region of the Mesogia plain (Spata, Artemis and Markopoulo) from 1 May–31 August 2000. Phytodetection of ozone was also conducted using bioindicator plants of Bel-W3 and Zichnomirodata (KK6/5) tobacco varieties. The average maximum daily O3 concentration was 60–75 ppb, while the 24 hour average ranged from 40–65 ppb. The AOT40 (ppb hours) index was very high in Athens (16 679 over 121 days), Spata (16 325 over 110 days), Artemis (8093 over 22 days) and Markopoulo (18 646 over 113 days), suggesting potentially phytotoxic ozone levels. The ozone bioindicator plants of Bel-W3 and KK6/5 tobacco varieties were highly injured in all regions confirming the phytotoxicity of those ozone levels. The levels of NO and NO2 recorded at the three stations, in the Mesogia plain, were considerably lower than those occurring in Athens. The data presented here provide important background information concerning pollution levels in the Mesogia plain shortly before the operation of the new international airport 'Eleftherios Venizelos' in this region (March 2001).

Keywords: air pollution, airport, ozone biomonitoring, phytodetection, phytotoxicity, Greece

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