Los Angeles has suffered its worst year in decades for smog and air quality, despite coronavirus lockdowns and stay-at-home orders that kept many residents off the roads.
Heatwaves and wildfires, combined with other natural factors, turned the air a yellow hue that hearkened back to the bad old days of the 1990s when the air in L.A. was practically visible.
The Los Angeles Times reported Sunday:
“In all, this year there were 157 bad air days for ozone pollution — the invisible, lung-searing gas in smog — across the vast, coast-to-mountains basin spanning Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties.
“That’s the most days above the federal health standard since 1997.”
Ironically, the Times noted, it is precisely because of the shutdowns that air pollution has become worse, thanks to “non-traffic emissions” like volatile organic compounds in disinfectant, and quirks in atmospheric chemistry:
It is also possible that the response to the pandemic altered the mix of pollutants that generate ozone, which is not emitted directly, but forms when tailpipe emissions and other pollutants react in the heat and sunlight.
Reducing ozone requires carefully balanced cuts in two main smog-forming pollutants — combustion gases called nitrogen oxides and chemical vapors and solvents called volatile organic compounds — and regulators have long known that cutting them in the wrong proportion could bring no ozone reductions at all or even increase smog levels.
The coronavirus shutdowns provided a rare experiment in what happens when cars stop emitting pollutants.
While many environmentalists hailed the opportunity to restore nature, by midyear scientists were already noticing increases in air pollution in some cities, and only modest reductions in others.
Read more at Breitbart
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