Measurements taken at six points in the Madrid region on Saturday morning found ozone concentrations of up to 1,113 micrograms per cubic metre (ug/m3). In comparison, the highest warning level set in the 1992 EU ozone pollution directive is 360 ug/m3. Not a single exceedence of this level was recorded in EU countries last summer (ENDS Daily 12 October 1999). Unusually for ozone pollution, the Madrid peak occurred before sunrise and the very high levels lasted only about six hours.
Madrid's authorities publicised the pollution peak only 24 hours after it occurred and have been accused of breaching the ozone pollution directive's requirement for a public alert if levels pass 180 ug/m3 and an official warning if they exceed 360 ug/m3. The city's mayor defended the decision saying that "issuing an alert might have alarmed the public and could have forced the postponement of the [annual Madrid] marathon," which was held on Sunday.
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