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Last year’s Carmageddon may have been a big annoyance for Los Angeles residents who typically use the always busy Interstate 405, but there was a clear benefit for everyone else living in the area. During the three day stretch of highway closures, the air quality improved significantly. Ultrafine particles concentrated in the atmosphere dropped by 83% and PM 2.5 participles fell by 36%.
According to The Huffington Post, the positive effects were felt most by the areas immediately surrounding the highways, but there was at least some measure of improvement in areas as far as Ventura and Santa Clarita. Naturally, all the gains were immediately lost as soon as the cars returned to the road, but experts say we could see air quality that nice in the future if we move away from combustion engines.
Los Angeles is widely considered the worst city in the country in terms of air quality. Everyone drives everywhere, and a good percentage of people have long commutes. This weekend’s Carmageddon II is widely expected to produce results similar to what was achieved the first time around, but if all goes according to plan, it will be business as usual by Monday morning.
Here’s to hoping a solution will eventually be found that a) doesn’t close down the highways, b) doesn’t lead to a different kind of pollution and c) has a name as cool as Carmageddon.