Air quality returned to pre-coronavirus pandemic levels. In the annual calculation, the report indicators show that last year there was an unprecedented improvement, especially during March and April.
The quality of the air in the last quarter of 2020 has been reset to the previous levels to the pandemic of the coronavirus despite restrictions on movement in much of the country, according to the report indicators of the quality of the air , of the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge.
The report specifically analyzes the concentrations of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particles in suspension below 10 microns (PM10), pollutants mainly linked to traffic.
Specifically, it states that in the first state of alarm , which was declared on March 14, there was an “unprecedented” improvement in air quality in Spanish cities . However, in the last quarter of last year, despite lower mobility , NO2 concentrations increased progressively and reached levels close to those prior to the pandemic.
The air quality indicators report analyzes the impact of the covid-19 pandemic in urban or suburban stations in municipalities with more than 200,000 inhabitants .
In the annual calculation, the report indicators reflect that in 2020 there was an unprecedented improvement in the air quality of the cities, especially in NO2 during March and April . Thus, the reduction in concentration in April compared to the average measured in previous years reached 47%.
The minimum, in April
The indicators also show a gradual recovery in the levels of this pollutant throughout the second half of the year. Precisely, the monthly evolution of NO2 in urban and suburban stations usually presents its turning point in the summer months; however, in 2020 it is observed how the monthly minimum occurred in the month of April .
This fact can be directly associated with the effect of the mobility restriction measures applied in the first alarm state.
Throughout 2020, the weekly average values during the first alarm period were significantly lower than the average of the last three years. And the highest were recorded in urban stations.
The Ministry report admits that there is greater difficulty in interpreting the results, although it does conclude that, although mobility levels have been lower than previous years during the last quarter of the year, NO2 concentrations show a progressive increase and close to contamination levels of previous years .
Even in some Spanish cities, values higher than those of the first weeks of the year, prior to the first state of alarm, have been observed.