VDEQ reports increase in Roanoke’s air quality

Local News

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ) is reporting an increase in the Roanoke’s air quality.

These numbers are due, in large part, to the pandemic. With less drivers on the road, especially along the I-81 and I-581 routes, the area’s nitrogen dioxide emissions for 2020 have seen a decrease by 38%, compared to yearly averages from 2016-2019.

Air Pollution in Roanoke, Courtesy: Virginia Department of Environmental Quality

Other factors in air pollution readings, such as ground-level ozone, sulfur dioxide, and fine particulates, to name a few, are also showing low numbers for the 2020 year.

“This is what happens when you do have people who are teleworking, among other things,” said Meteorologist for VDEQ, Dan Salkovitz. “You have less pollution being emitted. What you’re seeing in Roanoke is not specific to Roanoke. It’s statewide, and it’s regional as well. In fact, it’s arguably the most in the country, perhaps.”

VDEQ’s monitoring instrument for the Roanoke area is located at Herman L. Horn Elementary School in Vinton. VDEQ posts daily air quality forecasts.

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