COVID-19 Outbreak Reduced Pollution

The coronavirus recent outbreak shut most businesses, quarantined people in their homes and closed boarders between continents. The latest evident indicated that the pollution, CO2, and NO2 emission level reduced to 40% as many are locked down to avoid the spread of the virus (“Coronavirus pandemic leading to huge drop in air pollution | Environment | The Guardian,” n.d.). The reports from China, South Korea, Europe and the USA showed that the NO2 “a toxic gas which causes significant inflammation of the airways” has reduced to 10-30% than normal. The Guardian posted several illustrations of satellite images to prove how the outbreak slashed the world pollution.

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

WHO said that the pollution from cars engines and power plants increased the NO2 which is a vector for pathogens and many health problems. The World Health Organization is also investigating whether the increasing in pollution has a major impact that made the COVID-19 more virulent.

Other experts explained that it’s too early to confirm that the lockdown and the dropping of air pollution will offset the mortality of COVID-19 or any future health problems(“expert reaction to drop in air pollution because of COVID-19 | Science Media Centre,” n.d.). But these data show how the future will be if we reduced the use of cars and used modern technology, experts say. In the UK, there is the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH)That monitors the ammonia but the monitoring of our carbon dioxide is placed in central London to track the emission. It only shows that there are only a few attempts to track future health problems by non-profit organizations while we need considerable action in this manner.

NO2 pollution before and after the outbreak of COVID-19 in France
NO2 pollution before and after the outbreak of COVID-19 in Italy

It is a known fact that developed countries produced a large amount of pollution as the industry is wider. The authority’s restrictions and curfews during the virus outbreak caused a dramatic improvement in air quality from the same time one year ago and in the past few weeks (Todorović, n.d.). Therefore, the air becomes cleaner above large cities and regions that heavily loaded with factories and power plants. Cities like Milan, Paris, and Madrid that have been hit hardly by the infectious disease showed a huge drop in NO2 as the economy and transportation activities at a bare minimum due to the government restriction to limit the spread of COVID-19. The statistics showed that people are 84% likely to die in areas with higher air pollution than other especially those with chronic diseases.