Air pollution declines in major cities

Air pollution declines in major cities

ISTANBUL - Anadolu Agency
Air pollution declines in major cities

Air quality in Turkey’s 29 metropolises has improved significantly as people stay at home and fewer cars hit the roads amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Air pollution in those provinces dropped as much as 32 percent, according to data from the Environment and Urbanization Ministry and local municipalities.

The southeastern province of Kahramanmaraş has seen the sharpest decline in air smog – measured in terms of particles matter (PM)10 pollution – in all 29 cities.

Since March 16, the pollution in the city has plunged 60 percent, followed by Şanlıurfa province in the country’s southeast, with 58 percent. Air pollution in the southern province of Hayat has declined 55 percent, whereas the corresponding figure for the eastern province of Van was a 53 percent drop.

In the eastern province of Erzurum and the Central Anatolian province of Eskişehir, air pollution has declined by 51 percent since mid-March.

In İzmir, the country’s third-largest province by population, pollution reduction was only 3 percent while the Aegean province of Muğla and the northwestern province of Tekirdağ saw similar drops in pollution.

In Istanbul, which is home to some 16 million people, air pollution also fell around 11 percent over the same period and in Ankara, the decline was 27 percent. In Antalya, on the Mediterranean coast, the pollution was down 28 percent.

“One of the side products of the measures taken to curb the spread of the virus is cleaner air. The fight against the outbreak helps to reduce human-originated polluting emissions. Air quality is improving all over the world,” said Professor Hüseyin Toros from the Meteorological Engineering Department at Istanbul Technical University.

“The air quality is working to our advantage in the fight against the coronavirus because it causes respiratory diseases,” he added.