The dramatic drop in the circulation of cars due to Covid-19 movement restriction measures enforced by the government has brought about considerable benefits for the air we breathe, head of air quality at the Labour Inspection Department told philenews.
Dr Chrysanthos Savvides said that atmospheric pollution in city centres has significantly dropped during the month of March.
In particular, official readings recorded significant reductions in emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO), flying particles (PM10) and benzene (C6H6).
He said that this drop was expected as it is well known that in city centres one of the primary sources of atmospheric pollution is vehicles.
The drop is most prominent, he added, during rush hour (from 7 am to 9 am) with the latest readings showing up to four times lower pollution than usual.
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).
Other European cities have similarly reported a shift in pollution readings, with Brussels, Paris, Madrid, Frankfurt and Milan recording a 40% slide in the average levels of nitrogen oxides within a week.