Rīga air quality slightly improves during pandemic

It's been two weeks since a national state of emergency has been declared, but despite fewer cars and public transport vehicles on the roads, the air quality has only slightly improved since before the emergency declaration, according to a Latvian Radio broadcast on March 26.

According to Rīga City Council Housing and Environment Department Environmental Administration Director Evija Piņķe, this can be explained by various factors, such as dry, sunny weather. This means increased particulate levels, as there is no precipitation to wash away the dust. In general the dust particulate concentration in the air increases every spring.

“Nitrogen dioxide, benzene and particulate matter levels have decreased by around 10-15%. Concentrations measured by monitoring stations depend on how much this pollution is emitted in the air, both from transport and industrial pollution, and so on,” said Piņķe.

“Currently it's near the threshold. Possibly if the state of emergency wasn't declared and transport was more intense, they could have been exceeded, but those are rough estimates,” continued Piņķe.

Many countries around the world have experienced significant improvements to air quality after implementing measures to mitigate the spread of the Covid-19 novel coronavirus during the global pandemic. Many scientists are even saying that the better air quality could possibly save more lives than the virus takes, but the improvements are likely to be short-term as economies are itching to restart.
 

Seen a mistake?

Select text and press Ctrl+Enter to send a suggested correction to the editor

Select text and press Report a mistake to send a suggested correction to the editor

Health
Society