Some Air Pollutants Increased In Austin During The Pandemic. The Big Question Is Why?

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As COVID-19 spread across the globe in the spring, people noticed a strange side-effect of the pandemic: The air was getting cleaner. Stay-at-home orders, along with the economic crash caused by the outbreak, meant less industrial and transportation-related pollution.  

But not necessarily in Austin.

A review of Austin air quality by the Capital Area Council of Governments released earlier this year found that some harmful pollutants, like nitrogen dioxide and ground level ozone, did decrease in March and April. But the levels of other air pollutants, like fine particulate matter and carbon monoxide, actually increased in those early months of lockdown.

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