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Air quality of Abu Dhabi improves due to a reduction in transport-related emissions

The Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD) revealed today that a significant decrease in concentrations of transport-related air pollutants in Abu Dhabi has been recorded since preventive and precautionary measures were taken by the UAE to curb the spread of COVID-19. Her Excellency Dr. Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, EAD's Secretary General said:  "The data showed a 50% decrease of the average nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in Abu Dhabi compared to the past six weeks. The average levels have reduced from 56.95 µg/m3 before six weeks to 28.44 µg/m3 this week. This decrease is a direct result of the safety measures taken by the government of the UAE encouraging social distancing and reducing traffic movement to control the coronavirus pandemic."

HE Dr Al Dhaheri noted that; "Transport is one of the main sources of nitrogen dioxide gas and with less vehicles on the street, there has been a noticeable difference in the air quality of the Emirate. Similarly, significant reductions of other transport-related pollutants such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and carbon monoxide (CO) have also been observed."

She added: "The decrease in air pollution in Abu Dhabi is similar to what is happening in other countries across the globe as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. According to global reports issued by the European Environment Agency, the reduction rates range from a 26% to 51% decrease in cities such as Rome, Barcelona, ​​Madrid - to name a few.”

Dr. Al Dhaheri also said that the current data is evidence of the impact of human activity on the environment and emissions in Abu Dhabi.

Additionally she stated: “However, there is an obvious commitment of relevant government agencies on a local and federal level who are all striving to convert to a more sustainable economy that works to improve air quality and combat the effects of climate change.”

EAD monitors air quality in the emirate through an integrated network of 20 fixed and two mobile stations. The network monitors about 17 different parameters using the latest technologies and methods recognized by the International Organization for Standardization. The network adheres to the testing and competency standards of ISO/IEC 17025.  The network provides high quality and live data broadcasts on the status of emissions in the air. Information is available on the Air Quality website

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