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'We're talking about a huge impact,' Mother Nature's reaping the benefits of people staying at home

"We're talking about O3 which is not a good ozone to have at ground level. It impacts lung function which of course right now is incredibly important."

If there is one thing we have grown to appreciate during these tough times, it's the beauty of our world.

As more trade in their four wheels for two, Mother Nature is noticing.

"Environmentally we are seeing real benefits," Greg Griffin, Ph.D. an urban planning professor at UTSA said.

With fewer cars on the road, Griffin says there are obvious signs there is less pollution.

"I took a look at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality air quality index report and it shows that we're down a third on ground level 8-hour ozone for today versus one year ago, so that's a major benefit," he said.

"We're talking about O3 which is not a good ozone to have at ground level. It impacts lung function which of course right now is incredibly important."

That has a ripple effect on public safety. Griffin says multiple cities are reporting reduced crash rates.

"We're talking about a huge impact nationally usually between 30-40,000 people die a year from auto crashes so a reduction in that isn't going to help mitigate the challenges with coronavirus but it is at least one bright spot."

A bright spot we can all use more of nowadays. This is why Griffin hopes San Antonians will really notice the positive changes that have been made and keep them.

"Try to make these temporary increases in walking and biking more permanent," he said. "Think together as a community about how we can improve san Antonio looking forward based upon what we're learning here." 

While Griffin encourages everyone to continue to walk and bike he asks you to do it safely. Some cities are reporting an increase in pedestrian-related crashes.