Air quality in Kitchener improves during pandemic, researcher says

By Juliane Hazelwood, CBC News, April 19, 2020

More people working from home and fewer cars on the road is improving the air quality in some Ontario cities, according to a researcher at Wilfrid Laurier University.

Hind Al-Abadleh, a chemistry professor and chair of the environment division at the Chemical Institute of Canada, has been studying the impact of the pandemic on air quality in the province.

"When we reduce the sources of pollution...we effectively can see the reduction in pollutants in the atmosphere that we know causes health effects and has other adverse effects on the ecosystem," said Al-Abadleh.

So far, she's examined measurements from provincial air quality stations in four Ontario metropolitan areas, starting from January until April 10.

Up to 40 per cent reduction

Her preliminary results show there's been:
  • A 40 per cent reduction in nitrogen dioxide in Kitchener.
  • Between 30 and 40 per cent reduction in Toronto (the west end of the city rates better than downtown).
  • A 40 per cent reduction in Ottawa.

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