Air quality during COVID-19

Air quality during COVID-19

As physical distancing measures continue to influence activities and fewer vehicles hit the road, the region’s air quality may be improving.

Metro Vancouver’s air quality monitoring network, which collects data from across the region, is showing a drop in certain air contaminants. Average levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) at several monitoring stations are lower than in the previous four years, for the same time period.

At the Clark Drive monitoring station in Vancouver, which is located close to the road, average nitrogen dioxide concentrations in April 2020 were 20% lower than those of the previous four Aprils.  Some of this reduction is a result of reduced vehicle traffic because of physical distancing measures, though it may be offset to some degree by increased heating emissions, as people spend more time at home.

Air quality improvements have been more apparent in heavily polluted parts of the world. In the Metro Vancouver region, air quality is generally good and various initiatives have helped to improve it over time, including recent measures to further reduce emissions from wood burning sources. Air pollution from combustion sources, like vehicle emissions and wood burning, may contribute to increased risk of viral infection.

Check out the AirMap to find out the latest air quality conditions.