Air quality is improving in Indiana amid pandemic

Air pollution is dropping dramatically worldwide including right here in Indiana.

Posted: Apr 14, 2020 8:25 PM
Updated: Apr 15, 2020 4:32 AM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Air pollution is dropping dramatically worldwide including right here in Indiana. Jeffrey Dukes, Director of Purdue University's Climate Change Research Center said studies are showing it could be linked to the stay-at-home order.

"We're not solving the problem accidentally as we all stay at home but we are contributing to solving the problem," Dukes.
He's looking at these unprecedented times as an opportunity to learn.

"Maybe after this is all over, we'll realize that we don't all have to be at work all the time, we can be working from home not commuting all the time and saving our time on commuting and saving our energy," Dukes.

He said traffic has reduced by 40% since the stay-at-home order went into effect. Since then, air quality has improved by 38%.

"There are lots of inconveniences and really bad consequences of having to shut down society so let's not kid about that but there are huge air quality improvements in some of the places with the worst air in the world," said Dukes.

In places like India and China, people are seeing climate change improvement with much clearer skies. But people in Indiana may notice these differences in their breathing while outside.

"Although the downside is right now we're getting lots of pollen too so maybe asthma won't be as bad, or the spring won't be quiet as bad from the pollen because we don't have as much of these other pollutants in the air at the same time," Dukes.

This can be particularly helpful for those fighting and recovering from COVID-19.

"The improvements in the air quality that we do have are probably helping those people who need it the most," said Dukes.

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