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Satellite Images Reveal A Dramatic Drop In Pollution During The Coronavirus Quarantine
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Science2 years ago

Satellite Images Reveal A Dramatic Drop In Pollution During The Coronavirus Quarantine

Most of us are likely feeling the effects of the Coronavirus outbreak that is sweeping across the world, be it nurses, doctors, civilians or entire governments. The areas of quarantine are increasing just as the number of infected people rises and it is very hard to have a positive outlook on the future when no one has any answers in regards to it. Well, scientists finally are reporting a positive change, albeit it might not be what we might expect.

According to the European Space Agency (ESA), as well as a handful of independent researchers, nitrogen dioxide emissions have significantly decreased over Italy following the lockdown caused by the spread of COVID-19. The Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite detected a decline in NO2 emissions signaling the decrease in air pollution, with the most significant change being observed in the northern part of the country.

“The decline in nitrogen dioxide emissions over the Po Valley in northern Italy is particularly evident,” Claus Zehner, ESA’s Copernicus Sentinel-5P mission manager reported. “Although there could be slight variations in the data due to cloud cover and changing weather, we are very confident that the reduction in emissions that we can see, coincides with the lockdown in Italy causing less traffic and industrial activities.”

Scientists and researchers are reporting a significant decrease in NO2 levels above Italy

Image credits: SanGasso

“Copernicus Sentinel-5P Tropomi is the most accurate instrument today that measures air pollution from space. These measurements, globally available thanks to the free and open data policy, provide crucial information for citizens and decision makers,” said Josef Aschbacher, ESA’s Director of Earth Observation Programmes.

The graphs show a gradual decrease in NO2 pollution starting from the 14th of February

With less NO2 traces on the 24th of February

Santiago Gassó, a research associate at NASA, took to Twitter to report on the results of the satellite sensor. He also explained that while fluctuating NO2 emissions are completely normal considering that they differ under such factors as the day of the week, this observed change was definitely significant.

And a significant decrease in March

Image credits: SanGasso

The map showcases NO2 pollution levels on the 8th of February, Saturday

While this one shows the pollution levels on Saturday, March 7

This is the data presented by the European Space Agency (ESA) that shows the same tendency

You can watch the time-lapse from ESA in the video below

Some Italians have also reported a more noticeable change in the environment

Image credits: FolinAlberto

As the canals in Venice become crystal clear due to reduced traffic during the quarantine

Image credits: FolinAlberto

Here’s how people across the world reacted to the story

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Giovanni
Community Member
2 years ago

It would be revolutionary if half the people that is now working from home keeps doing it after the quarantine ends, there is no need to pollute and endure traffic if you can do the same work from home. Less stress, less pollution it's a win/win situation i hope it lasts.

NeverGoWoke
Community Member
2 years ago

I have no doubt that a lot of people are going to ask their bosses or make the decision to work from home.

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Enuya
Community Member
2 years ago

I live in Warsaw, capital city of Poland. Unfortunately, I'm not able to work from home - at least not yet - so everyday I have to travel through half the city to my office. We don't have many ill people yet and it is only few days since the government applied any restrictions (we closed schools, universities, some shops and culture centers) - and yet, after just few days, the air in the citty is remarkably cleaner. Actually I kinda like this town the way it is right now - there are less people on the streets, less cars and everything is so tranquil and quiet.

Toni
Community Member
2 years ago

same here in austria ..

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Daria B
Community Member
2 years ago (edited)

Korea has also been enjoying a cleaner air since the lockout in China and we can feel it on our skin. That's good, sure, but let's not be insensitive. Easy to talk about "mother nature"'s cruelty when you haven't lost anyone dear to you... Anyway, I hope we can learn from this experience and find better ways to keep the environment clean.

Load More Comments
Giovanni
Community Member
2 years ago

It would be revolutionary if half the people that is now working from home keeps doing it after the quarantine ends, there is no need to pollute and endure traffic if you can do the same work from home. Less stress, less pollution it's a win/win situation i hope it lasts.

NeverGoWoke
Community Member
2 years ago

I have no doubt that a lot of people are going to ask their bosses or make the decision to work from home.

Load More Replies...
Enuya
Community Member
2 years ago

I live in Warsaw, capital city of Poland. Unfortunately, I'm not able to work from home - at least not yet - so everyday I have to travel through half the city to my office. We don't have many ill people yet and it is only few days since the government applied any restrictions (we closed schools, universities, some shops and culture centers) - and yet, after just few days, the air in the citty is remarkably cleaner. Actually I kinda like this town the way it is right now - there are less people on the streets, less cars and everything is so tranquil and quiet.

Toni
Community Member
2 years ago

same here in austria ..

Load More Replies...
Daria B
Community Member
2 years ago (edited)

Korea has also been enjoying a cleaner air since the lockout in China and we can feel it on our skin. That's good, sure, but let's not be insensitive. Easy to talk about "mother nature"'s cruelty when you haven't lost anyone dear to you... Anyway, I hope we can learn from this experience and find better ways to keep the environment clean.

Load More Comments
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