Coronavirus pandemic leading to huge drop in air pollution

Pollution levels in China in 2019, left, and 2020. Photograph: Guardian Visuals / ESA satellite data
Pollution levels in China in 2019, left, and 2020. Photograph: Guardian Visuals / ESA satellite data

COVID-19 was declared a pandemic earlier this month causing industries across the world to shutdown and workers to stay home to avoid further contamination and spreading of the virus. This emergency shutdown has lead to lower air pollution levels around the world. 

Experts are saying that this societal shutdown is creating one of the largest experiments in industrial emission reduction. NO2 levels over cities and industrial areas have decreased significantly in comparison to this same time in 2019. 

University of Leicester air pollution professor, Paul Monks, stated 

It seems entirely probable that a reduction in air pollution will be beneficial to people in susceptible categories, for example some asthma sufferers. It could reduce the spread of disease. A high level of air pollution exacerbates viral uptake because it inflames and lowers immunity.

Currently, the World Health Organization is researching whether NO2 particles are creating a smoother trajectory for the Coronavirus to develop more severely. 

Read more about the drop in air pollution from Jonathan Watts and Niko Kommenda's article in The Guardian.

Category

Tags