Please consider downloading the latest version of Internet Explorer
to experience this site as intended.
Tools Search Main Menu

Cleaner air a ‘short-term’ silver lining of COVID-19

April 29, 2020
Aerial shot of a single car on a freeway.Lee Murray, an assistant professor of earth and environmental science at the University of Rochester, found air pollution levels in the area significantly lower than a year ago. (Getty Images photo)

The COVID-19 stay-at-home order has a silver lining for the environment: fewer people out on the road has led to a dramatic decrease in nitrogen dioxide, an air pollutant that forms almost exclusively because of fossil fuel combustion. 

Lee Murray, an assistant professor of earth and environmental science at the University of Rochester, told City Newspaper that the area’s nitrogen dioxide concentrations in March were 30 percent lower than in March 2019, according to the surface measurements Murray tracks at the New York Department of Environmental Conservation’s air-quality monitoring site in Rochester. Murray helps the state interpret greenhouse gas measurements at this site and three other sites across New York. 

But, while this is good for the environment now, Murray does not anticipate levels will stay this low.

“It seems like most of the impacts are just going to be short-term impacts associated with air quality improvements, but as soon as the economy goes back to business as usual then the air pollution will go back to business as usual as well,” he told City’s Jeremy Moule.

Tags: , , , ,

Category: Voices & Opinion