Albuquerque sees improvement in air quality as more people stay home

Coronavirus New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – As New Mexicans take heed of the state’s health order and stay home, experts say the air quality is improving. More people are staying in, in light of the coronavirus, and as a result, the skies are becoming clearer.

Places like China, India and even Los Angeles are seeing significant drops in smog and air pollution with fewer cars out — but what about here in Albuquerque?

“We’ve never had air pollution levels like you’ve seen in L.A,” said Dan Gates, a Senior Environmental Health Specialist with the City of Albuquerque Air Quality Control Board. “Our air quality is already much better than what they see in L.A.”

Daniel Gates says the city rarely sees high air pollution. However, in recent weeks, they’ve seen a slight decrease from the levels normally recorded this time of year.

“We do see a small decrease in our pollution levels,” said Gates. “You’re talking about a small decrease in what is already a low concentration of pollution.”

Gates says they have five stations across the city and Bernalillo County that can record for certain pollutants like carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. As for when things open back up and the traffic increases, Gates says there probably won’t be much of a change.

“If we go back to normal, we’re just going to go back to where we were,” said Gates. “We’re usually 60-percent or lower of the federal standard for most of our pollutants. We’re not very high to begin with.”

Gates says in the meantime, enjoy the fresh air, take a walk and remember to keep at least six feet of distance from others.

“It’s been beautiful out, I’ve been going out for walks, myself,” said Gates. “The social distancing is always important so make sure you’re aware of that. I still see a lot of vehicles out there though which is really surprising to me.”

The City of Albuquerque sends out an air quality and pollen count update every day. You can sign up for the daily alerts online through the CABQ Air Quality page.

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