In April, Connecticut residents heeded warnings from state officials and stayed close to home and off the roads. Perhaps the one silver lining of the pandemic has been a significant improvement in air quality.

Officials from the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) reported in April that emissions were down nearly 40%. State ambient air quality monitoring data showed a huge reduction in NO2 and fine particulate matter since March 1. In Connecticut, traffic volume was reduced on most roads by 40 to 50% on weekdays and as much as 70% on weekends.

Of course, these improvements came at a high cost, as communities grappled with business closures and stay-at-home orders, due to COVID-19.

Officials warn that preliminary data is not fully quality assured, but if accurate, it is likely related to the reduction in all fossil fuel combustion associated with a wide variety of sources including power plants, manufacturing, and reduced vehicular traffic both in Connecticut and in the greater New York City metro area.

NASA said that March 2020 “shows the lowest monthly atmospheric nitrogen dioxide levels of any March” since they started keeping such records in 2005. NASA warns that further analysis is required to rigorously quantify the amount of the change in NO2 levels associated with changes in pollutant emissions versus natural variations in weather.

Environmentalists are hoping to find a way to sustain it.

“Sustaining these reductions by implementing more permanent programs to further reduce power plant emissions, increase energy efficiency investments, increase deployment of renewable energy sources, eliminate unnecessary vehicle trips, and deploying more electric vehicles on the road would all have positive impacts on improving air quality and public health throughout Connecticut,” DEEP announced.

Source: CT News Junkie

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