IUPUI researchers look at impact of social distancing on air pollution

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INDIANAPOLIS — For over six weeks, a majority of Hoosiers have been hunkered down, adhering to the governor’s stay-at-home order.

Researchers at IUPUI say there may be a silver lining to the coronavirus pandemic. Early research shows they are already seeing the effects of limited travel and mobility.

In Indianapolis, researchers conducted a study about a year ago examining the city’s air quality.

This year, they conducted that same study during the shutdown and found the smog and air pollutants had gone down 25%.

“The improved air quality is one dramatic improvement from this otherwise tragic pandemic.  I think the key takeaways, not just for people as individuals but for cities, states and governments, is we can see the impact of improved air on our cities and towns. That’s going to improve our health,” explained Gabriel Filippell, IUPUI professor of sciences and director of the Center for Urban Health.

The state’s department of environmental management found there has been a 66% drop in carbon monoxide in Indiana’s air since the stay-at-home order was issued.

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