There was less traffic in 2020 because of the pandemic. | Joan Torres

Nitrogen dioxide in Palma's air was reduced by a third in 2020. The regional government's director-general for energy and climate change, Aitor Urresti, explains that data for the air-quality control station on Calle Foners have been compared and that the annual average of micrograms per cubic metre was 24. It was 32 in 2019.

The regulatory limit is 40. In 2011, the average was 42. It has been coming down in recent years and would have in any event in 2020, but it was undoubtedly aided by the pandemic. Nitrogen dioxide is the pollutant most related to traffic and especially to diesel vehicles.

The Foners station is at a junction where there is one of the highest traffic densities in the city. Over the course of a year, regulations permit eighteen instances of 200 micrograms of nitrogen dioxide, but there have been no examples of this in recent years.

Urresti says that the reduction in pollution is good news but that, "unfortunately, it is linked to bad news, which is the pandemic". Nevertheless, the decrease in 2020 shows what can be done for air quality by having non-motorised individual mobility, collective mobility (public transport), electric vehicles and vehicle-sharing.

He adds that, in general, air in Palma and the Balearics complies with quality parameters. "But if we further reduce pollution, we also improve our health, well-being and noise pollution. We shouldn't therefore give up on going further, as we have shown that we can pollute less."