We live in unprecedented times. One-third of the world is under lockdown, air traffic is down, factories have closed, and our lives are paused. But once you open the window and look up, you’ll notice something different. The sky is clearer and the air feels fresh. Don’t worry, it’s not a cabin fever hallucination.

New scientific data shows that there’s a huge global fall in air pollution. Scientists have found out that there’s been a nitrogen dioxide drop by 54% in Paris, and a fall of nearly 50% in Madrid, Milan, and Rome. Meanwhile, NASA has reported a 30% decrease in air pollution over the Northeast US and up to 30% drop in NO2 In China.

The data is one thing, but seeing the transformation with the naked eye is another! Let's have a look at before and after photographs that show how global lockdown has cleared the skylines.

(h/t: insider)

#1

The India Gate War Memorial, New Delhi, India

The India Gate War Memorial, New Delhi, India

The India Gate war memorial in New Delhi, India, is pictured on October 17, 2019 (above) and on April 8, 2020 after a 21-day nationwide lockdown (below). Reuters reports that New Delhi is having "the longest spell of clean air on record."

AFP , Hindustan Times Report

WilvanderHeijden
Community Member
7 months ago

Yes, the world is more beautiful without people.

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#2

Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles, California is known for notorious smog and traffic. But the view on the bottom shows the San Gabriel Mountains on April 14, 2020. According to Business Insider, the improvement in air pollution is likely a result of fewer planes and cars on the roads.

David McNew Report

goldenwood_cottage
Community Member
7 months ago

These two photos aren't a good comparison. They're not taken from anything like the same angle, or lens focal length. They're also taken at different times of the day. One is shot with the light behind the camera, and one with the light coming across. I'd like to see some real comparative pix.

2WheelTravlr
Community Member
7 months ago

The before photo was taken September 11, 2002 during a time when LA county had two major fires going, it was also shot with a telephoto lens from a location much further away than the second photo - so the top image is taken through many more layers of particulate.

Ruben Tamayo
Community Member
7 months ago

The top picture is ancient. The Wiltshire Grand (the tall building with the antennae in the second picture) isn’t even in the first picture. That building was under construction between 2013 and 2018. Which means the top picture predates construction. Also, the air is clear whenever it rains or the Santa Anna winds blow.

Toni Ostarcevic
Community Member
7 months ago

Uhm, season... and distance??? Fog... becomes denser... with the... distance... Omg. This is so silly...

Azure Adams
Community Member
7 months ago

That is two different angles and does not count

Full Name
Community Member
7 months ago

It's obvious dishonesty like this that stops people from getting on board. That photo, as others pointed out, is NOT pollution.

Lisa B.
Community Member
7 months ago (edited)

These two were taken from a completely different vantage point

Dave P
Community Member
7 months ago

you mean a pic now looks cleaner than during the southern cal wildfires with all the smoke? wow

Step Twirl
Community Member
7 months ago

Far too exaggerated

Joonas Meriläinen
Community Member
7 months ago

There are mountains?!

kurisutofu
Community Member
7 months ago

People waking up and looking through their windows that day: wait, we had a mountain all that time?!

Zoe Murphy
Community Member
7 months ago

I live on the other side of those mountains. :)

Michael Smith
Community Member
6 months ago

While this is a horrible example to compare two photos because it very much so comes across as misleading, anyone who has been to LA knows that the smog is a major issue. Without wildfires there are days when the buildings lining the freeways are hazy looking as you drive by them and this second picture, the clarity of the air, would have never happened before.

sharron lynn parsons
Community Member
6 months ago

Easily explained !!!

Mumof1
Community Member
7 months ago

Who knew there were mountains there!

Adrian Elliott
Community Member
7 months ago

Pictures from different angles, time of day, year, etc., don't mean much.

Dorothy Cloud
Community Member
7 months ago

Since this view shows the mountains, must be taken from the west or beach front.

Teresa Groth
Community Member
7 months ago

Here again what a blithe to tolerate!

Heather A
Community Member
7 months ago

Literally never seen the mountains behind LA like that!!!

Sharon Dean
Community Member
7 months ago

And I bet there are a lot fewer planes on the roads these days...........

katboxjanitor
Community Member
7 months ago

Planes & Cars on the roads??? No wonder traffic is always snarled in LA!!!

Roy Phillips
Community Member
7 months ago

Funny thing about L A and its smog: The elimination of the Red Car subway in L A help set the stage for all that smog.

Tiggerdk
Community Member
7 months ago

As many who have NEVER lived in LA, it's only 20mins drive to the mountains and 30 to the beach (depending upon destination)

Jack Candy
Community Member
7 months ago

One is taken from the mountains, the other with a big zoom which makes the distance look a lot smaller.

Marsha Traub
Community Member
7 months ago

I truly would never believe it to be this bad.....so GLAD I got to see it!

Anna D
Community Member
7 months ago

WOW!

Gail Nicholson
Community Member
7 months ago

And now you're comparing from the wrong viewpoint and extra pollution...

Elaine Dodd
Community Member
7 months ago

stunning

Julia Chenier
Community Member
7 months ago

Not going to lie...I didn't even know they had mountains until this pic!

CherryCola♥
Community Member
7 months ago

This is so pretty!! WE are the virus!

Jennifer Sacrison
Community Member
7 months ago (edited)

I don't really believe this is the same city cuz there are no mountains in the second one...maybe cuz it was taken on the mountain and the buildings don't match up. They totally look like different buildings and there appears some were added or missing. It COULD be LA but I'm not sure it is.

Meyer Weinstock
Community Member
7 months ago

Actually, it looks like that a day or so after a rain or a Santa Ana wind...even 30 years ago.

John Montgomery
Community Member
7 months ago

I thought LA was already cleaned up before this due to epa regulations.

Aragorn II Elessar
Community Member
7 months ago

This comment has been deleted.

Pieter Ijzerman
Community Member
7 months ago

@chazemo.com can help to maintain pollution free visibility . Please d I've EVs

Al Joy
Community Member
7 months ago

No ...

Erika Leon
Community Member
7 months ago

Wow! Amazing! This is the only plus about the outbreak.

Salma Hernández
Community Member
7 months ago

Years ago I visited LA. It wasn't as polluted as in the photo. But it afected me. Its amazing see it clean.

Daria Z
Community Member
7 months ago

There were mountains behind?! Woah!

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#3

New Delhi, India

New Delhi, India

The top photograph of New Delhi, India was on November 8, 2018 and the bottom one was taken on April 8, 2020. The staggering difference may be attributed to the world’s largest lockdown in the country of 1.3 billion people. All factories, markets, shops, and places of worship are now closed, most public transport suspended, and construction work halted as India asks its citizens to stay home and practice social distancing.

Anushree Fadnavis/Adnan Abidi Report

Jackson Bowen
Community Member
7 months ago

*THIS IS A CENSORSHIP COMMENT FOR THE DUMB COMMENT BELOW ME*

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The current global drop-off in nitrogen dioxide pollution is one-of-a-kind in recent history. Fei Liu, an air quality researcher at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, has said that “This is the first time I have seen such a dramatic drop-off over such a wide area for a specific event.” The reduction in NO2 pollution was initially detected near Wuhan, from where the coronavirus spread. Soon, it spread across the country and around the world.

Liu recalls a drop in NO2 during the economic recession in 2008 in some countries, but the fall was gradual. A similar reduction was observed around the area of Beijing during the 2008 Olympics, but it was localized around this one city and pollution soon returned to previous levels as the event ended.

#4

Milan, Italy

Milan, Italy

Milan was named Europe's most polluted city in 2008 and smog remains a recurring problem, according to BBC. But after the air pollution dropped significantly during the lockdown, the city announced an ambitious scheme to reduce car use after the quarantine ends. The bottom photograph of Milan was taken on April 17, 2020, while the top one was taken only four months ago.

Flavio Lo Scalzo Report

Carol Tocci
Community Member
7 months ago

We desperately need to learn from this.

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#5

The Grand Canal, Venice, Italy

The Grand Canal, Venice, Italy

The Grand Canal in Venice, Italy is seen here pictured on January 6, 2018 (top). But after the lockdown, new photos emerged of the canals looking crystal clear. The city's mayor told CNN that this was due to "less traffic on the canals, allowing the sediment to stay at the bottom." The bottom picture was taken on April 17, 2020.

Manuel Silvestri Report

Marina Nunzi
Community Member
7 months ago

It is obvious this has nothing to do with pollution, these pictures had been taken in different times of the day or in different seasons.

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#6

Venice Lagoons

Venice Lagoons

Italy’s efforts to limit the spread of the coronavirus disease has led to a decrease of boat traffic in Venice’s famous waterways—as captured by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission. The top image, captured 13 April 2020, shows a distinct lack of boat traffic compared to the image from 19 April 2019.

European Space Agency Report

Loretta
Community Member
7 months ago

I can see the difference between the pictures, but what is it?

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Nitrogen dioxide is emitted from industrial processes, power plants, and car engines and is believed to aggravate respiratory illnesses. According to Wired, “while not a greenhouse gas itself, the pollutant originated from the same activities and industrial sectors that that are responsible for a large share of the world’s carbon emissions and that drive global heating.”

For that reason, this unprecedented drop in air pollution offers a glimpse into what effects a potential low-carbon economy would have on the Earth. Paul Monks, professor of air pollution at the University of Leicester, called the current crisis “the largest scale experiment ever seen.” And, in fact, “this might give us some hope from something terrible [...] to see what can be achieved.”

#7

North Jakarta, Indonesia

North Jakarta, Indonesia

Jakarta is known as one of the smoggiest cities in the world. But the same wreckage of a wooden boat pictured on July 26, 2018 and April 16, 2020 shows a night-and-day difference.

Willy Kurniawan Report

Toni Ostarcevic
Community Member
7 months ago

Rather looks like a foggy day in autumn.

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See Also on Bored Panda
#8

Yamuna River, New Delhi, India

Yamuna River, New Delhi, India

Last year, once again, India topped the charts of the world's most polluted places as home to 14 of the 20 cities with the most hazardous air. But Yamuna River in New Delhi, India, pictured on April 8, 2020 (bottom), looks unrecognizable compared to the same view from March 21, 2018.

Adnan Abidi Report

Angel Schilder
Community Member
7 months ago (edited)

Still wouldn't take a swim in there if they paid me for it.

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#9

Jakarta, Indonesia

Jakarta, Indonesia

The Jakarta Post reports that the air over the city has become increasingly polluted since 2018, hitting a new low in 2019, when the city was named the fifth-most polluted capital in the world.

But the air quality has improved since the social restrictions were issued in late March. The top picture shows Jakarta’s skyline on July 4, 2019 and the bottom one was taken on April 16, 2020.

Willy Kurniawan Report

Sian Edwards
Community Member
7 months ago

That skyscraper has gone up fast!

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#10

Electricity Pylons, New Delhi, India

Electricity Pylons, New Delhi, India

CNN reports substantially lower levels of both noxious microscopic particulate (PM 2.5) and of nitrogen dioxide post-lockdown. In New Delhi, the PM 2.5 went down by 71% in a single week. The electricity pylons in New Delhi, India, were photographed on October 30, 2019 (top) and April 13, 2020 (bottom).

Adnan Abidi Report

Toni Ostarcevic
Community Member
7 months ago

Guys, seriously. There are extremely polluted places, but don't try to fool people with fog or forest fires.

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#11

Islamabad, Pakistan

Islamabad, Pakistan

The local news source Dawn reported on April 02 that the quality of air in Islamabad was declining. But the current lockdown decreased the traffic, and visibility has dramatically improved. The view from the Daman-e-Koh point in Islamabad, Pakistan was taken on August 3, 2017 (above) and the recent one was pictured on April 20, 2020 (below).

Faisal Mahmood/Saiyna Bashir Report

Jeremy
Community Member
7 months ago

Looks the same

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