Air pollution alerts activated across Monaco and the Riviera

air pollution

Higher-than-usual levels of tropospheric or ground-level ozone have been recorded in a large swathe of southern France, as well as Monaco, leading authorities to activate a Level 1 warning for the region.  

AtmoSud, the air quality monitoring service for the southerly parts of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region, has placed four of the departments it covers under a Level 1 pollution warning.

The alert warning service is used by prefectures when the concentrations of ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide or PM10 particles risk exceeding the criteria defined by national air quality standards. In this particular car, ground-level ozone gas is the culprit, with levels surpassing the threshold of 180µg/m3.

Monaco’s government, which independently operates five air quality monitoring points across the Principality, has noted similar conditions and has also announced the same alert level.  

Air quality is expected to remain “poor” until at least Tuesday 22nd August, when conditions are expected to improve. 

The region – the Principality of Monaco and the French Riviera and Provence – is prone to higher air pollution levels, given the climate and the large number of people who live and visit the area.  

“The multiple sources of emissions combined with strong sunshine expose the region to photochemical pollution that is amongst the highest in Europe,” reads an explanation on the AtmoSud website. “These sources are also strong emitters of fine particles, causing numerous exceedances of regulatory standards.”  


When the air quality is bad, it is recommended that people, especially the more vulnerable members of society, take heed and follow a few common-sense guidelines to protect themselves.  

AtmoSud advises against outdoor exercise, especially in the heat of the day, as air pollutants enter the body most readily through the respiratory tract, causing inflammation, irritation and reduced breathing capacity.  

Poor air quality can be particularly dangerous for those with conditions such as lung cancer or asthma. It also can bring on heart attacks, so extra caution on these alert days is advised.  

To help combat the pollutants in the air, AtmoSud recommends switching to public transport or carpooling to cut down on the number of cars on the roads, as well as respecting rules on fires and moderating the temperatures of indoor spaces without excessive use of air conditioning.  

According to an EQIS study on the public health impact of air pollution conducted by Santé Publique France, poor conditions can lower life expectancy by more than two years in some French cities. Medium and small towns, in addition to rural areas, fare a bit better with, on average, pollution shortening life expectancy by nine to 10 months.  


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