How The Coronavirus Has Impacted Air Quality In The UK

The COVID-19 coronavirus had a significant impact on the UK and this has led to a nationwide lockdown in efforts to reduce the spreading of the outbreak. This lockdown means restrictions to travelling, working, socialising, and shopping across the UK.

As a result of the lockdown, we have seen a significant decrease in air pollution levels across all of the major cities in the UK, according to new data from The European Environment Agency.

In particular, levels of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) have seen a marked decrease in many cities over the past few weeks in comparison to the same period last year. This reduction is mainly due to the reduced traffic and other commercial and industrial activities that may emit nitrogen dioxide.

Whilst there has been a decrease in the concentrations of particulate matter (PM2.5), we have yet to see a consistent reduction across the UK and Europe. This means that we could see a sharp increase in pollutants again once the lockdown measures have been released.

Local Air Pollution Levels from 2019 to 2020

Data from the European Environment Agency shows how the levels of air pollutants have decreased from 2019 to 2020 due to lockdown measures in response to the coronavirus. The data from EEA had been measured hourly on the ground and they have approximately 3,000 monitoring stations across the European countries.

For example, as shown in the images below, London had an average concentration of 43.0 ug/m3 on 25th March 2019. Whereas, on 23rd March 2020, London now has an average concentration of 26.1 ug/m3. This is nearly half the levels of pollutants from 2019.

This is seen to be consistent across all major cities in the UK.

Concentration of Pollutants in 2019

Data from 2019 – The European Environment Agency (https://www.eea.europa.eu/themes/air/air-quality-and-covid19/air-quality-and-covid19)

Concentration of Pollutants in 2020

Data from 2020 – The European Environment Agency (https://www.eea.europa.eu/themes/air/air-quality-and-covid19/air-quality-and-covid19)

Is the Coronavirus Affected by Air Pollution?

Continued exposure to air pollution will have negative health effects and this can be particularly dangerous to those who have existing respiratory or cardiovascular diseases. Health authorities have also warned citizens with existing conditions or illnesses relating to the respiratory system, may be at an increased vulnerability to the virus.

Analysis by Piotr A. Kowalski and Aleksander Konior from Airly (an air quality data start-up) shows that there may be a correlation between higher levels of air pollution and a faster rate of spread of the virus. The data shows that regions of the world with significant issues with particulate matter (PM2.5) has a stronger correlation to areas that have been severely affected by the coronavirus. It’s said that continuous exposure to high levels of pollution can deteriorate the properties of the respiratory systems and as a result, people may be more prone to respiratory illnesses.

However, it has not been concluded that continued exposure to air pollution could worsen the effects of the virus and further research is needed before a conclusion can be reached.

How Can Businesses & Educational Establishments Improve Air Quality?

Improving air quality and reducing air pollution is a global effort. Business in the commercial, educational, industrial, and residential areas can do their part by ensuring that indoor air pollution is minimised through the use of high-quality air filtration systems.

At AAC Eurovent, we provide high-performance NOx filters that deliver measurable NO and NO2 reduction to improve the indoor air quality. Our carbon filters can also be enhanced to address issues relating to particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10).

Our indoor air filters are recommended by air quality consultants and are routinely specified by mechanical consultants. These indoor air filters can be used for inner city residential, commercial, and educational new build and retrofit schemes including student accommodation and hotel projects.

Contact AAC Eurovent for Carbon Filter Systems

If you are looking for an effective and reliable air filtration system that delivers measurable NOx reduction to improve indoor air quality, then AAC Eurovent can help you. We also offer a free design and manufacture service for bespoke projects that require effective indoor air quality management.

Call us on 01543 379 823 or you can send us an email.