The Jerusalem Post

Yom Kippur shows drop in vehicle emissions, air pollution

 TAKING ADVANTAGE of the empty streets on Yom Kippur. (photo credit: FLASH90)
TAKING ADVANTAGE of the empty streets on Yom Kippur.
(photo credit: FLASH90)

The Environmental Protection Ministry reports a major decrease in the concentration of pollutants on Yom Kippur.

A significant reduction in air pollution, primarily from vehicle emissions, was observed across the numerous air quality monitoring stations distributed throughout Israel on Yom Kippur. 

Most streets in Israel are closed on the fast day, and most Israelis choose to ride bikes and spend time with their families. The reduction in pollution underscores the crucial role of transportation as the predominant contributor to urban air pollution.

Specifically, the Environmental Protection Ministry reported that concentrations of nitrogen dioxide (NOx), an air pollutant associated with respiratory problems and reduced immune response, experienced a notable decrease during the holiday.

Emissions peak at other points in the year

Peak concentrations of NOx at major urban transportation stations on the holiday ranged from 3.7 to 38.9 parts per billion (ppb), significantly lower than the 500 ppb daily environmental standard.


"This significant improvement in air quality on Yom Kippur underscores the critical role of transportation as the main contributor to urban air pollution," the ministry reported. "While certain pollutants like particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10) may not show a decrease on Yom Kippur due to their varied sources, the reduction in vehicle-related emissions is evident."

Even on Yom Kippur, when many factories may not have been operational, the impact of large-scale industrial activity was felt in the air. 

The ministry's findings indicated that benzene concentrations, which pose carcinogenic risks with prolonged exposure, showed an uptick in proximity to certain industrial zones in Haifa and Ashdod. Nevertheless, the ministry reported that these levels remained well within the daily environmental standard of 1.2 ppb (3.9 µg/m³)