A drop of 50% in nitrogen dioxide levels was recorded at the Msida station during the partial lockdown the Maltese islands experienced when the coronavirus pandemic began.
The data was released by the Environment and Resources Authority which marked International Day of Clean Air on Monday. The international day was designated by the United Nations General Assembly and is observed on 7 September.
In a statement on Monday evening the environmental watchdog said that it would to reiterate its commitment towards air quality around the Maltese islands. ERA also said that it will continue raising awareness on the importance of clean air.
The authority monitors air quality through a network of diffusion tubes around the islands daily. Air quality is also monitored through near real time monitoring stations in four locations – Żejtun, Attard, Msida and Għarb.
During the coroavirus pandemic an extraordinary situation was experienced in terms of air quality, ERA remarked, explaining that the Msida station experienced a drop of 50% in nitrogen dioxide levels – a marker of emissions from road traffic.
The environmental watchdog has also developed the “Malta’s National Air Pollution Control Programme” – a policy that focuses on traffic measures. This policy, which is intended for key stakeholders, including the citizens, encourages the use of sustainable mobility which is key to address the situation.
ERA also engages in direct promotion of citizen science activities such as the “Fair with Air” initiative which addressed school children and included air monitoring activities in schools throughout the last scholastic year.