Lockdown truly improved the air quality in Ile de France

Published by Manon C. · Photos by My B. · Published on 15 May 2020 at 11h54 · Updated on 25 June 2020 at 16h57
The air quality monitoring organization in Ile de France Airparif confirms it: thanks to lockdown, the air quality trult improved in Ile-de-France.

This is some very good news for Parisians: the air quality has finally got better in the French capital thanks to lockdown!

For the record, right after the confinement was announced, the air quality in Paris didn’t get better; a fine particle pollution peak even came above in the sky, despite the disappearance of most cars and other motorized engines. Pollution peaks are regularly noticed in March, because of the weather, Air quality monitoring organization in Ile-de-France Airparif explains.

Luckily, the trend has changed swiftly. On Friday May 15th, Airparif shares a new report showing that between March 17 and late April, which are the lockdown dates, to a few days, pollution has dramatically decreased, especially in terms of nitrogen dioxide caused by motorized engines. It decreased by 20 to 35% depending on weeks. And even in half by the main roads

As for fine particles, the report is less positive, the latter are not just caused by road traffic, but also by heating, agriculture and the weather. The particle threshold has been passed and recorded this past March 28th by Airparid, mainly because of farming (32%), wood heating (6%) and road traffic (6%).

"The impact for particles (PM10 and PM2,5), with a -7% decrease explained by a strong influence of the bad weather and more emission sources, and not only local" Airparif explains.

The organization also studied the presence of ultra-fine particles in Paris (that can be as small as a DNA molecule). Once again, lockdown has been useful: samples show "obvious 30% drop for this kind of particle, which emissions are mostly related to traffic (road, air) in cities". The drop "is even more important as for the smallest ultra-fine particles range, naming, under 20 nanometers, with a 50% drop".

Now that France is exiting containment, Airparif says they will "assess the consequences on the air quality as containment is exited, with evolutions that will be more gradual than during lockdown, that has been sudden. Close attention will be given on consequences of the increasing road traffic, first air pollution source in Ile-de-France and that has been gradually increasing for a dozen of days, yet without having reached the same levels as before continement".

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