The Department of Labour Inspection (DLI) of the Ministry of Labour and Social Insurance (MLSI) is the Competent Authority for the monitoring of various atmospheric pollutants, as well as for the assessment and management of air quality, so as to safeguard the health and well-being of citizens and the protection of vegetation and the environment in general. The Air Quality Monitoring Network in Cyprus was established in 2006 with the aim to protect and inform the public regarding the air quality in Cyprus and includes nine (9) stations. This network is operated according to the Cyprus and the European Legislation. The stations of the network are equipped with modern instruments based on the standards of the corresponding European networks. The National Reference Laboratory (NRL), as well as the Air Quality Monitoring Stations Network, are accredited according to the Standard CYS EN ISO/IEC 17025:2017 by the Cyprus Organisation for the Promotion of Quality (CYS-CYSAB).
For the better management of the network and the presentation of the air quality situation in Cyprus, these stations are categorized, based on the air quality legislation in relation to the measurement area as:
- Traffic Stations which are stations representative for areas with high traffic (Nicosia, Limassol, Larnaka, Pafos and Paralimni),
- Residential Stations which are stations representative for residential areas (Nicosia),
- Industrial Stations which are stations representative for industrial areas (Zygi and Mari) and
- Background Stations which are stations representative for background areas (Ayia Marina Xyliatou).
These monitoring stations have the ability to obtain measurements from different pollutants, such as nitrogen oxides (NO, NO2, NOx), ozone (O3), sulphur dioxide (SO2), carbon monoxide (CO), Particulate Matter (PM2.5, PM10) and benzene (C6H6). Furthermore, the most important meteorological parameters are being monitored, such as: wind direction (W/D), wind speed (W/S), ambient temperature (T), relative humidity (R/H), barometric pressure (B/P) and solar radiation (S/R), by using automatic instruments for continuous measurements.In addition, DLI carries out measurements of concentrations of PM using special filters with dedicated samplers in all towns of Cyprus. From these samplings, which are carried out according to the gravimetric reference method, firstly the concentrations of PM10 and PM2.5 are calculated and then the concentrations of heavy metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are determined. The results of the measurements together with other relevant information are presented on-line on the website www.airquality.gov.cy. In addition, the public information regarding the air quality is carried out through indoor panels which are placed in three Municipalities Offices and through four island-wide TV stations after their evening central news bulletin. DLI, in order to inform the public, has proceeded to the preparation of a mobile phone application with android and iOS software, for the immediate information of the employees, the sensitive population groups, the public, the relevant bodies, the visitors and other people interested about air quality. Through this application, the people can have access to the information regarding the air quality, based on the different colours of pollution levels on Cyprus map as well as based on the concentrations of pollutants per station. In Cyprus, there are frequent incidents of dust transfer from the arid and partially arid areas (deserts) of North Africa and Middle East. For this reason, in these cases announcements are issued to warn the public and specifically the sensitive groups (children, elderly and patients) and to protect people working in open spaces.