COVID-19 is causing international trade to be disrupted, flights are being canceled, and several men and women are currently staying or working at home. But it’s also having some interesting positive impacts on the environment.
How is the coronavirus outbreak affecting the environment?
As you’re about to see, the environment is profiting in some interesting and unexpected way during the past couple of months. You might also take a look at this interactive map from Earther that investigates the changes in air pollution not only in the U.S.
The map runs on Google Earth Engine and uses data gathered by the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-5P satellite.
So, without further ado, below are a few ways that the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has, or likely will influence the environment. This listing is far from exhaustive and is in no specific order.
Air pollution has dropped significantly in China
One of the primary impacts of this coronavirus outbreak has been a substantial drop in air pollution in many regions of the world. Most especially seen in developed, or developing, industrial countries like China and in Europe, the fall shows precisely how much industrial activity was closed down as of late.
Satellite imagery from the likes of NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) has been observed by many experts as”the most significant scale experiment ” in terms of reduction in emissions around the world. Data from satellites such as the ESA’s Sentinel-5P Satellite within the past couple of weeks have demonstrated a significant drop in polluting gases such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2).
Nitrogen dioxide is largely produced by automobile engines, power plants, and other industrial processes, it’s considered that the cause for a multitude of health problems, especially respiratory ailments such as asthma. Among the biggest drops in the gas was seen in Wuhan, Central China. The town was under strict lockdown since January.
The majority of its 11 million individuals are confined to their houses and business, and travel effectively came to a halt. This resulted in a 10-30% fall in emissions over the period.
The waters of Venice are clean Once More
Another unexpected effect on the environment from the coronavirus was seen in Venice, Italy. With tourists numbers culled due to the virus, the waters in Venice’s canals are cleaner than they’ve been in living memory.
With things like motorboats efficiently”grounded”, sediment churning and other water pollutants have dropped dramatically. In most regions of Venice, residents are astounded by how clear the water has become.
So much so, in actuality, that fish could be seen once more in the canals.
New York’s air has also gotten cleaner
With lots of people around the world self-isolating willingly or by official edict, some significant cities out of China are also seeing their air quality boost. Researchers have discovered that there was a 5- to 10% fall in air pollutants such as carbon dioxide in New York.
Traffic levels are also significantly down, with some estimating in the area of 35%. Carbon monoxide emissions also have dropped by somewhere in the region of 50%.