During lockdown, road traffic fell dramatically all over the world. In Scotland, it was down 65%.
And yet all those cars being off the road didn’t make much difference to levels of air pollution. A team at the University of Stirling analysed levels of PM2.5 fine particulate matter recorded at 70 roadside locations around Scotland from 24 March – the day after lockdown was introduced – to 23 April. They then compared the data to the same periods in previous years, and found no significant difference. However, they did detect a fall in levels of nitrogen dioxide. Based on these findings, the researchers say that cars may not be key contributors to outdoor pollution in Scotland, and that people there may be at greater risk from air pollution in their own homes, especially if smoking or cooking is taking place in poorly ventilated spaces.
(The Week 19 September 2020).
My take: My personal betes noirs are the people who sit in their parked cars on our block with their car engines running, sometimes for half an hour or more. And it isn’t even cold. Meanwhile, they are concentrating on their cellphones or i-pads. I cannot imagine myself fouling the air of nearby householders, but apparently this point has not occurred to some out-of-towners who come into the city to work or to shop, without a thought for the rest of us. The idea of consideration for others was drummed into me as a child relentlessly. This modern selfishness, masquerading as “liberty”, is anti-social and obnoxious. And unepicurean.