Air pollution is predominately determined by emissions from human activities, following the outbreak of COVID-19 countries across the world went into lockdown, meaning that these human activities came to a halt, and naturally, air pollution went into decline.
As rates of infection are beginning to decline, lockdown in many European countries is beginning to ease and with that air pollution is expected to rise.
However, according to the CAMS regional maps of air quality which is updated daily and compared against 2017-2019 averages, air pollution still remains relatively low with no signs of any dramatic increases yet.
Mark Parrington, a senior scientist at CAMS said: ‘Between January and April, we have seen a decrease in pollutants like NO2, and to a lower extent PM2.5 and PM10, in many European areas that coincided with the introduction of strict lockdown measures in those countries due to Covid-19.’
‘Now, we are expecting to see some increase again as lockdown measures are loosened, but it is not apparent yet in our data.’
Vincent-Henri Peuch, director of CAMS added: ‘There are differences in the way lockdown and easing of lockdown manifest itself between different parts of the world.
‘In Europe, the easing of lockdown measures currently appears to be cautious and progressive, which means ongoing reduced commuting and business-related transport to take just one example. This is very important because some of the health benefits, which we have experienced during the lockdown period from improved air pollution, could be kept permanently.
‘Certain pollutant emissions reduction objectives, that may have appeared previously seen as too ambitious or even counter-productive, can now be targeted with confidence and backed with evidence. With combined efforts, like those proposed in the European Green Deal initiative, we can make a change.’