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Coronavirus measures led to unprecedented drop in air pollution, says Labour Inspection Department

Coronavirus has sharply reduced pollution from vehicles in Cyprus’ streets, Phileleftheros reports on Thursday, with nitrogen oxide levels down seven-fold during rush hour, from 7 am to 9 am, and a drop in flying particles by 22%.

Official readings by the Labour Inspection Department show that the latest pollution levels are similar to those recorded during Easter, Christmas and summer holidays.

An officer from the Department said that current readings are unprecedented when compared to the same month in previous years.

He said that the main source of pollution from nitrogen oxides and flying particles is the burning of fuel (vehicles, industry, home heating etc)

Graph 1: Readings of average hourly concentration of nitrogen oxides in Nicosia for January 2020 (blue), February 2020 (red) and March 2020 (silver).

 Graph 2: Readings of average hourly concentration of flying particles in Nicosia for January 2020 (blue), February 2020 (red) and March 2020 (silver).

He added that daily pollution has also dropped between 2 pm and 4 pm when public employees clock off, as they are now required to work from home.

The March weather helps, he added, to keep the burning of fuel for heating at home at low levels. Most of the pollution caused from home heating, he explained, occurs in the months of December, January and February.

He warned, however, that the fact we are currently not exceeding permissible pollution levels should not lead to the easing of efforts to keep emissions as low as possible.

 

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