Ambient Air Quality in PA During COVID-19 Pandemic
We can all agree that it has been a challenging past couple of months, but for those of us who monitor air quality there have been signs of optimism. We have seen a significant decrease in the levels of NO2 (nitrogen dioxide) in not only our local communities, but the whole Delaware Valley region as a whole. Did you know that one of the leading sources of nitrogen dioxide emissions is derived from cars, trucks, and buses? If you look at these maps provided, you can see the drastic decrease in red areas from mid March- mid April 2019 compared to mid March- mid April 2020. This is directly correlated to the decrease of traffic due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led many residents to work and stay at home, limiting the amount of travel.
As we are slowly emerging from the restrictions, numbers in NO2 emissions will surely increase, however, we can avoid going back to the large amounts of pollution from 2019. Help flatten the NO2 curve. The pandemic has enabled residents to get some fresh air through walking, hiking, and biking- we strongly encourage you to continue this! Help improve the air quality and reduce the amount of pollution by including telecommuting and carpooling in your schedule even if it’s for one day. We are all responsible for the quality of our air.
With the Governor’s Stay at Home order imposed in late March there is a significant decrease in the traffic count during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 compared to the 2019 patterns. People wanted out and we saw a significant increase in outdoor activity including trail and hiking traffic, limiting car travel has made a positive impact on air quality due to less pollutants being released into the air.
As we head back into normal routines, we can expect the traffic to rise again and decrease the air quality. However, if we each do our part, we can keep the numbers lower than in 2019 by continuing to participate in outdoor activities, cycling, carpooling, telecommuting, and returning to mass transit use. Help flatten the NO2 curve. For more information, visit us at https://www.tmacc.org/.