Dubai: There’s some good news in the air: Dubai has recorded a 17.7 per cent improvement in air quality in 2020 compared to that in 2019, Dubai Municipality has announced.
Dawood Al-Hajiri, director general of Dubai Municipality, said that the municipality monitors air quality through a network of stations distributed in strategic locations. The network includes 72 fixed stations.
The drop in air pollution and improvement in air quality coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic during which the emirate observed stay home orders and travel restrictions.
A significant drop in nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions across the GCC countries was recorded by the UAE’s Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) by the end of March itself.
As reported by Gulf News earlier, the Remote Sensing Department at MBRSC published the results using data acquired by the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Sentinel-5P mission. The drop in NO2 concentrations beginning late February coincided with the region-wide precautionary measures taken to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Nitrogen dioxide is mainly produced from engines, power generation and other industrial processes, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
In view of the lockdown announced in various countries during the peak of the pandemic, fewer vehicles were on the road, fewer planes were taking flight and industries were also affected over the period. This had led to the decline in NO2 concentrations, which in turn improved air quality.
Air pollution is the single greatest environmental threat to health in the world, according to the United Nations.
Every year, 6.5 million people die from exposure to indoor and outdoor air pollution, and nine out of 10 people breathe contaminated outdoor air that exceeds the acceptable levels set by the WHO guidelines. The effects of air pollution are not limited to health only, but extend to other economic and social aspects.