|Coronavirus: nitrogen dioxide emissions drop over Italy|
The Washington Post reported the unexpected bright side of the economic and health crisis associated with the coronavirus pandemic – the marked improvement in our environment resulting from the massive slowdown.
The environmental changes, in so short a time, are already evident and dramatic. In Los Angeles, people are home from work, but they can see the blue sky above. In Venice, the canals are not brimming with tourist-filled gondolas, but the water is running cleaner, if not clean. People are taking time to be in nature because it is the best way to get out of the house and comply with social distancing requirements. And they are reaping health benefits because pollution levels across the country are plummeting as a result of humans staying home.
The story reports that the cleaner environment resulting from reduced activity that is intended to save lives by social distancing may have saved tens of thousands of lives around the world, in addition to those saved by avoiding the virus. A Stanford University researcher conservatively estimates that reduced air pollution in China saved more than 50,000 people who otherwise would have died prematurely.
Here is a link to a CBS news article showing satellite images show remarkable change in air pollution over a very short period of time. The video above is from this article.
The European Space Agency (ESA) report linked below also contains some amazing graphics, including the one below