Coronavirus Disrupts Crucial Air Quality Research

Coronavirus Disrupts Crucial Air Quality Research

The quality of the air we breathe is of growing concern to cities and citizens alike. In fact, the environmental monitoring and smart city team at Sonitus Systems have written extensively about air quality internationally, both prior to the pandemic, and throughout. You will find a selection of these articles on our News page.

Everything we know about the levels of air pollution on a global scale and the impacts of these on human health comes from scientific research and ongoing studies. This work is critical, so it is perhaps unsurprising that the following article caught our attention: At EPA, coronavirus disrupts research and raises questions over air quality impact. You can read the article in full here

In short, it now appears that a research vessel that has collected air quality data on the Great Lakes for the past three decades will remain in dry dock for 2020. Also, with the US EPA headquarters closed, government scientists studying the emissions of heavy-duty diesel trucks do not have access to their labs. Andrew Wheeler, administrator of the EPA went so far as to say that no single event during his tenure has forced more change within the organisation than the outbreak of Covid-19, including the increasingly urgent climate crisis.

Significantly, the pandemic is providing the agency with large new (US) datasets on the effects of air pollution on respiratory illnesses. As documented here previously, early studies suggest a link between areas with poor air quality and a higher proportion of COVID-19 cases. As head of the EPA, Wheeler is repositioning the organisation's focus away from climate change and towards the agency's "core missions" of providing clean air and clean water. In the above article, Wheeler confirmed that EPA scientists are looking into whether air pollution has been a factor in the pandemic. He also confirmed that research has slowed as a result of social distancing measures. Of course, that is understandable; however, the nature of this particular virus means that understanding air quality enough to support policy-making and prompt corrective action is crucial right now. Within the past week, Sky News reported that, according to Friends of the Earth campaigners, Pollution targets breached at more than 1,300 sites in England and, at the time of writing this, there are reports of Major air pollution concern following Beruit explosion.

Given the global reach of the pandemic - and the nature of this virus with it's respiratory-specific impact on human health - it would appear that research in this area has never been more of a priority.

Sonitus Systems supply robust and reliable sound level monitoring equipment globally from their base in Dublin. Their award-winning products and services allow users to easily monitor and assess noise levels in any scenario to ensure compliance. For more information, call the Sonitus Systems team on +353 1 6778443 or email

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