People working from home could go a long way in reducing pollution caused by harmful nitrogen dioxide.
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This is according to research carried out by scientists from the Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technologies of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB). They looked at three different scenarios: telecommuting two, three and four days a week. They based their findings on mobility and air quality data obtained in Barcelona during the COVID-19 lockdown.
They found that the levels of harmful nitrous oxide decreased by four percent, eight percent and ten percent, respectively. Additionally, if 40 percent of service workers worked from home four days a week, not only would NO2 levels drop by ten percent, but traffic emissions would also drop by 15 percent.
In addition, the length of trips the remaining workers take to obtain their jobs would decrease by 37.5 per cent. In the other two scenarios – two days working from home with 20% of the workforce and three days working from home for 30% of the workforce – emissions due to traffic would drop by 5% respectively. and 10%.
The duration of work-related trips would also decrease by 12.5% and 25% respectively.
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Researchers also found that studying online would reduce NO2 emissions by 20% and shopping online would reduce them by 30%.
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ICTA-UAB researcher and lead author of the study, Alba Badia, said in a statement: “The application of this [third] scenario could be viable and realistic during periods of high pollution, as it is simply based on maximizing telework and reducing other work-related travel and purchases.
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