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DC smog levels drop to record low

DC smog levels drop to record low
© getty

Smog levels fell in Washington, D.C., over the course of the last several months, in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A report from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) found there were just two days between March and the end of August during which D.C. surpassed its “code orange” level that warns of unhealthy air.

That happens when D.C. surpasses more than 70 parts per billion of ozone. While ozone helps create a protective layer in the stratosphere to protect the earth from the sun’s ultraviolet light, the gas can contribute to asthma attacks and other respiratory issues when it is at ground level. 

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“COG experts also attribute this year’s low ozone pollution levels to COVID-19 related restrictions, such as the stay-at-home orders across the region, which led to a reduction in emissions due to lower traffic and fuel and electricity consumption,” the council said in a release on Tuesday.

Weather was also a factor in D.C.'s reductions.

“A cooler, drier May and a wetter than average July and August—contributed to the improved air quality,” COG stated.

D.C. has still not met federal smog standards, however.

Washington's drop in pollution mirrors a trend across the globe. However, cities are already seeing pollution levels quickly tick back up to near normal