Covid-19 upside? Air pollution is down across the globe
Most of the world is currently under lockdown to try and curb the spread of the deadly coronavirus. While many lives have been lost to Covid-19 and over 400,000 infected, one upside of the lockdown seems to be a major decrease in pollution levels around the world.
Satellite images have revealed a massive fall in global nitrogen dioxide levels. Don't believe us? Well, images by the US space agency NASA are clear indicator of decreasing NO2 levels. In February the concentration of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) fell drastically in Wuhan, China, coinciding with the lockdown of the city which is the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the BBC, an analysis carried out for the climate website Carbon Brief suggested there had been a 25% drop in energy use and emissions in China over a two week period. Scientists predict that this will lead to an overall fall of about 1% in China's carbon emissions this year.
Most countries have travel advisories - or outright bans - in place to restrict the spread of the virus as well and the airline industry has been temporarily grounded.
A new animation showing the variation of nitrogen dioxide emissions over #China (Dec-March) – thanks to @CopernicusEU #Sentinel5P data.
Sentinel-5P currently provides the most accurate measurements of NO2 and other trace gases from space.
https://t.co/Gn9mvSnIu6 pic.twitter.com/nDLrboKnXG— ESA EarthObservation (@ESA_EO) March 19, 2020
Northern Italy has seen a decline as well and so has parts of the United States. The Guardian reports that readings from ESA’s Sentinel-5P satellite show that over the past six weeks, levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) over cities and industrial clusters in Asia and Europe were markedly lower than in the same period last year.
Breathing better in — the irony of a respiratory illness
Northern Italy’s air quality notably improved from the Coronavirus lockdown, as people stayed home. Here are the NOX emissions seen from space.
From the @ESA #Sentinel5P satellite, showing the first 10 weeks of 2020. pic.twitter.com/BFQk2wuech— Steve Jurvetson (@FutureJurvetson) March 14, 2020
As more andmore people are being asked to stay at home and only step outside unless it is absolutely necessary, such as picking up food and medicine or perform essential jobs, the world will see a further decline in NO2 levels.
In February 2020, India once again topped an annual list of cities with the worst air quality in the world. According to that study, 21 of the 30 most polluted cities in the world were in India.
However, Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) reports, nitrogen oxide levels in the atmosphere since March 5, 2020 have fallen by approximately 45% in Mumbai and Pune, and by 50% or so in Ahmedabad, as compared to the levels recorded in 2018 and 2019.
Skies clear, air pollution levels drop as Mumbai stays indoors
MUMBAI: Forecasting and Research (SAFAR). According to SAFAR, there was a 45% drop in concentration of nitrogen oxide (NOx) this month compared to March 2018 and 2019. pic.twitter.com/X9NcV96r7n— AIN NEWS 24 (@news_ain) March 22, 2020
So while we're still grappling to contain this virus, here's your daily dose of good news.
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