Yom Kippur brings dramatic air quality improvements

Major cities across country see significant drops in nitrous oxide levels in particular, according to Environmental Protection Ministry.

Kids on bikes on Yom Kippur 311 (photo credit: REUTERS/Darren Whiteside)
Kids on bikes on Yom Kippur 311
(photo credit: REUTERS/Darren Whiteside)
Air quality levels in Israel’s largest cities were dramatically higher during Yom Kippur, with air monitoring stations indicating significant drops in nitrous oxide levels in particular, according to the Environmental Protection Ministry.
“With the arrival of the holiday, nitrous oxide levels dropped drastically, which is an indicator that air pollution [results] from motor vehicles at transportation stations in Gush Dan and Jerusalem,” a statement from the ministry said on Sunday.
Concentrations of nitrous oxides on Yom Kippur in Gush Dan stood at extremely low values of between 1 and 6 parts per billion, in comparison to the morning of the day before, where they reached concentrations of 94 parts per billion, the statement said.
Meanwhile, the center of Jerusalem featured similarly low concentrations – both on the day before Yom Kippur and during the holiday itself.
In Haifa, changes in nitrous oxide levels were even more dramatic, with concentrations dropping from 174 parts per billion at 7:30 p.m. on Friday just as the holiday began to 4.8 parts per billion over the following day.
While the results clearly indicated drastic reductions in nitrous oxide levels, the Environmental Protection Ministry said there was no way to detect whether a drop in respirable particulate matter had occurred, as such particles linger longer in the atmosphere – persisting for about 10 days before they completely disappear.