Every year, nearly 7 million people die as a result of air pollution around the world. Airports, according to McGill University experts, are hotspots for airborne contaminants that are harmful to human health and the climate. Researchers looked examined air pollution at three major Canadian airports and discovered that in the fall and winter, airports in colder climes accumulated more pollutants like PM2.5 than airports in milder climates. The highest PM2.5 concentration was found in the smallest and coldest airport, which had the fewest flights and passengers.
“Pollutants are concentrated and their dispersion is altered by meteorological conditions such as cold temperatures and precipitation. PM2.5 emissions should be reduced with a specific goal in mind, especially in cold climate zones where pollution concentrations are higher” Professor Parisa Ariya of the Chemistry and Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Departments states.
During the COVID-19 lockdown, researchers discovered that PM2.5 and other particle concentrations in residential areas near one airport reduced to the point where they met the recommended workplace health threshold. It was above this level prior to the lockdown. “COVID-19’s reduction in pollutant concentrations demonstrates how much pollution is generated at airports during normal operations. It also demonstrates how much pollution workers and residents in the area are exposed to, particularly during the winter months “Professor Ariya agrees.
Environmental Science and Pollution Research published the study.