The veil of pollution was visible this Thursday over a large part of the Rhône Valley. And for good reason. It is on this part, in Drôme, Ardèche and going back to Lyon that the winegrowers and arborists have tried by all means to fight against the frost during the night from Wednesday to Thursday to protect their crops. In vain most of the time, the negative temperatures having strongly degraded the cultures in the vineyards and orchards. Among the means used to counter frost, many producers have lit torches, which has resulted in a deterioration in air quality.
The information-recommendation level “air pollution with fine particles” was triggered this Thursday afternoon by the prefects in the Rhône, Drôme and Ardèche. “Numerous agricultural fires to fight against frost in the vineyards and orchards have led to very significant increases in the concentrations of particles in suspension in the Rhône valley and, to a lesser extent, in the Lyon basin north of Isère”, specifies Atmo Auvregne Rhône-Alpes, air quality observatory in the region.
“It’s traditional and it happens almost every year when you have frost, but this time it’s massive”, confirmed to AFP Marie-Blanche Personnaz, the director of the organization which foresees an improvement of the situation in the next few days. “Friday and Saturday, temperatures should rise, eliminating the risk of night frosts, and a sustained southerly wind will allow the dispersion of atmospheric pollutants, the air quality should be average to degraded”, underlines Atmo.
In the meantime, the authorities recommend that the public move away from traffic routes, avoid intense physical activity outdoors and invite to use wood-burning appliances, which generate fine particles, only when necessary. .