In Europe, air pollution decreased by 40 pc during the coronavirus epidemic. The same happened in Budapest, as well. Furthermore, never have more people used their bikes in the amazing Hungarian capital than now. In contrast, the air is worse than it was before the virus, which is unique in Europe. Greenpeace says that, among others, the reason behind that is free parking which the government allowed during the peak of the epidemic.
The government made parking in the Hungarian capital free on April 6. They said then that they would like people to use their cars instead of buses or trams to avoid unnecessary personal contacts – hvg.hu reported. However, even though the first (and hopefully the last) phase of the virus has been over for weeks, drivers can still park for free in the city. The deadline for that is July 1 and, as a result,
recently, it has been almost impossible to find parking places in the downtown districts.
Many people circulate for even half an hour or more which, of course, has its effects on the air of the city. Greenpeace says that authorities should reduce the number of cars and they support the idea to preserve the temporary bicycle lanes created during the last few months.
The competent deputy mayor of Budapest in the issue, Dávid Dorosz, said that they will decide about the new lanes in September. He added that, like before, the Danube embankment of Pest will remain a carfree zone at the weekends because they would like to show everybody that
the embankment of the river is not a motorway anymore
but a link between locals and the Danube.
Because of the coronavirus epidemic, many cities in Europe introduced measures that resulted in cleaner air. After the reopening, of course, the air quality worsened in almost every city. Still, it is unique in Europe that Budapest produced worse numbers in this respect than it had before the epidemic.
Interestingly, hvg.hu says that the number of bikers broke all previous records in the Hungarian capital. Experts noticed the trend in May, and the number of cyclists keeps rising steadily. They say that there is a good chance that those who started to bike during the quarantine
will keep that new habit in the future.
In case of the quality of the air, it is important to mention that from 2022 on, Hungarian cities having more than 25 thousand inhabitants can only put electric buses into service.