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Air Quality

Aerial view of London and the River Thames

WJF Technical Support Limited has played a significant role in the fitting of emission reduction kits on buses, and as a result, we are always interested in the air pollution levels that are recorded in the UK, and abroad.

As with all things at the moment, it seems that there is good, and bad news.

Dr Gabriel da Silva, a senior lecturer in chemical engineering at the University of Melbourne, writes that whilst satellites have witnessed drops in air pollution ‘almost overnight’, as economies eventually recover, there is likely to be an ’emissions surge’ which will leave the environment worse off.

He also writes that the lockdown won’t necessarily have any long-term benefits for climate change, either, as unlike many other air pollutants, CO₂ exists in the atmosphere for around a hundred years. That means a short-term drop in emissions won’t cause a decrease in its atmospheric concentration.

Air Quality News analysed monitoring data for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in London, Leeds, Manchester, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Bristol and Newcastle, comparing March 24th with the same day last year finding big reductions in emissions.  Edinburgh saw the largest drop in concentrations and London Westminster also saw a massive decrease in NO2 emissions.

The Guardian recently reported that additional data shows drops in tiny particle pollution of a third to a half in London, Birmingham, Bristol and Cardiff, falls of about quarter in Manchester, York and Belfast, with smaller declines in Glasgow and Newcastle.

“The air is definitely much healthier,” said Prof James Lee at York University and the National Centre for Atmospheric Science who analysed the data. “[Tiny particles and NO2] are the two air pollutants that have the biggest health impacts on people.”

“These are big changes – pollution levels are the equivalent at the moment of a holiday, say an Easter Sunday,” he said. “And I think we will see an even starker drop off when the weather changes.”

So, there you have it.

Stay safe, and we’ll see you on the other side.