The Coronavirus Lockdown Has Not Made the Air Cleaner

Larry Boes, 84, of Brooklyn, sits and watches the sun set over Manhattan from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade in Brooklyn, N.Y., March 22, 2020. (Andrew Kelly/Reuters)
Why are so many activists saying so anyway?

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE J ust about every day, someone claims that the air is cleaner. That, we are told, is a small benefit of the coronavirus-induced economic lockdowns. By reducing traffic on our roads, we are polluting the air less, providing a visible example of the supposed benefits of imposing more environmental regulation.

In my hometown of Seattle, one environmental activist told the local paper that people can “physically see that difference in the cleaner air.” The air-quality data tell a different story.

According to the EPA’s air-quality monitors, levels of particulate matter — known as PM 2.5 — are not lower now and have, in

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