NASA says COVID-19 lockdown ‘slashes air pollution’ in China

NASA has published satellite images capturing a signficant reduction in air pollution over China following its aggressive response to the COVID-19 pandemic

The Big Zero report

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As COVID-19 continues to spread across the globe, the situation only seems to be getting worse – however, these disruptions could cause some unexpected environmental benefits.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) recently published satellite images capturing a significant reduction in air pollution over China following its aggressive response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw it shut down factories and encourage residents to stay inside.

Nitrogen dioxide is emitted by burning fuel, cars, power plants, and construction machinery and can contribute to a range of respiratory dangers and diseases – levels of the harmful chemical fell significantly in Wuhan following the outbreak.

NASA noted there is often a decline in air pollution in parts of China in February as a result of the Lunar New Year but noted there was a larger decrease than usual recorded in 2020.

Fei Liu, Air Quality Researcher at NASA, said: “This is the first time I have seen such a dramatic drop-off over such a wide area for a specific event.”

Air pollution over northern Italy has fallen sharply after the coronavirus outbreak and the country’s lockdown, according to data coming from the European Space Agency.

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