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​Analysis of Air Quality Improvements During the Local Stay at Home Order


​From March 26 to April 29, 2020, Mecklenburg County was under a local Stay at Home Order. During this time period, interstate (I-77 & I-277) vehicle traffic decreased by approximately 40%. 

Mecklenburg County Air Quality analyzed ambient air quality data collected during that time period to determine if air pollution concentrations also decreased. Results of the analysis are as follows:

  • Concentrations of fine particulate matter, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and ozone were all lower than average.
  • Near-road monitoring stations measured greater decreases in fine particulate matter, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen dioxide than area-wide monitoring stations. 
  • Ozone concentrations were lower than what would have been expected based on the meteorological conditions during this time period.
  • A summary report is available online.

Local emission inventory data has long shown that, in Mecklenburg County, most ozone forming-air pollution comes from on-road vehicles like cars, vans and trucks.  The results of the analysis reinforce that reducing pollution from vehicles is especially important to improve local air quality. 

About Mecklenburg County Air Quality

Mecklenburg County Air Quality (MCAQ) is a division of the County's Land Use and Environmental Services Agency and leads local efforts in meeting and maintaining compliance with federal air quality health standards. MCAQ's three program areas (Monitoring, Permitting and Enforcement, and Mobile Sources) work together to collect quality data, enforce air quality regulations, issue permits on or ahead of schedule, and work in the community to find non-regulatory approaches to reducing air pollution. Specifically, MCAQ's Monitoring program operates a network of monitoring stations that measure real-time, local air quality conditions. This monitoring network provided the high-quality, accurate air quality data using in this analysis.   Learn more about Mecklenburg County Air Quality or view current air quality data.

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