Good Air Quality Days Increase Due To COVID-19

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According to a recent analysis by Trucost, S&P Global Market Intelligence, the number of “Good” air quality days across several major cities in 2019 versus the period directly after lockdowns, have increased while the number of more hazardous level days has decreased.

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Higher Percentage Of "Good" Air Quality Days

London and New York have experienced a higher percentage of "Good" days and a decrease in “Moderate” and “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” days, while Mumbai and Beijing have seen an increase mostly in “Moderate” days and decrease in the number of days with the worst air pollution.

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Air Quality

Analyst Rochelle March comments, “This “liveable threshold for air quality is stipulated by the WHO, and is also included in the 2030 Sustainable Agenda[1] under Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities. As part of one of the targets under Goal 11, target 11.6[2] aims to reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste” management, by 2030.”

Research Highlights

  • The number of "Good" air quality days across several major cities in 2019 versus the same period in 2020 have overall increased while the number of more hazardous days has decreased.
  • Just 8% of the world’s countries are actually meeting the World Health Organization (WHO) threshold for good air quality
  • There are several ways countries could achieve and maintain a sustainable threshold for air pollution now and post Covid-19, such as reducing GHG emissions from employee commuting by increasing remote work, reducing business travel and transitioning away from fossil fuel energy.
  • The United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) provide an important lens to align investment strategies with where investment is needed
  • By tracking progress on air quality, SDG target 11.6 can be used as a framework to gauge alignment with societal goals, such as healthy and sustainable cities.

[1] The UN Sustainable Development Goals, (2020). Available at: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/post2015/transformingourworld

[2] The UN Sustainable Development Goals, (2020). Available at: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg11