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Pollution levels lower in Pima County

Posted at 5:20 PM, Apr 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-13 21:21:26-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — Areas around the world are reporting improved air quality thanks to people staying at home and driving less. Stay at home orders seem to be having an impact here as well. County officials have noticed a decrease in some pollutants.

"I've certainly noticed the mountains are clearer," said Barbara Mansfield out enjoying the fresh air.

If you haven’t noticed the difference in air quality than you at least have noticed the difference on our roads.

"Country Club gets really busy and now I can go now to the end of my street get to Country Club and there are no cars anywhere."

The Pima County Department of Environmental Quality says the data is preliminary, but they have seen a decrease in nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter.

"Both of those pollutants can be associated with emissions from motor vehicles," said PDEQ Senior Program Manager Beth Gorman.

Gorman says weather patterns and modern cars could be having an impact as well.

"It's very challenging to compare one year to the next, but we have seen a slight decline in a couple pollutants at some of our monitoring sites."

These graphs show the levels of NO2 and particulate matter for March is the lowest they’ve been in the last ten years.

Gorman says she can’t confirm if people working from home is the cause, but she says increased telecommuting could be a big help to the environment.

"If people haven’t been doing it before, if businesses haven’t set up policies, they are probably doing it now and hopefully that will continue."

People we talked to say they’ll take good news where they can get it.

"Its bizarre, but I like it," said Mansfield.