Satellite observations made in recent weeks show that there is a positive factor between the coronavirus and the environment.
Especially in Northern Italy, one of the most polluted areas of the continent , where the concentration of nitrogen has decreased by 10% since mid-February.
It is one of the secondary effects of the coronavirus pandemic , which has already been seen in China: the slowdown in production activities and, in the case of Italy, especially in the movement, has reduced the levels of air pollution.
The relationship between coronavirus and the environment in China
In China, in the Hubei region, the one from which the spread of SARS-CoV-2 started, the number of “days with good air quality” increased by 21.5 percent in February compared to the same month. last year, according to data from the Chinese Ministry of Ecology and Environment.
Atmospheric surveys made by NASA show that between January and February, nitrogen dioxide emissions decreased in all the major Chinese cities.
Every year there is a drop in emissions at that time of the year due to the celebrations for the Chinese New Year, but this year, after the holidays, the emissions have not returned to increase.
Following the economic crisis that started in 2008 there had been a decrease in nitrogen dioxide emissions in many countries, but gradually.
Around Beijing, emissions had also decreased significantly during the 2008 Olympics, but the effect had only been seen in that city and pollution levels had started to rise again after the end of the sporting events.
The relationship between coronavirus and pollution in Italy for now
In Italy, where natural gas, less polluting than coal, and renewable energy sources is used to produce electricity, the reduction in emissions detected by satellites is mainly due to the decrease in road traffic.
Emanuele Massetti, a Georgia Tech University researcher who deals with the effects of climate change on the economy , told the Washington Post :
«I think it mainly depends on the absence of cars with diesel engines for the road. I expect the pollution to decrease again with the dispersion and absorption of the particulates in the atmosphere. In a few days in Northern Italy they will experience the cleanest air ever. “
According to research carried out in 2019 on behalf of the European Commission, transport is responsible for 70 percent of nitrogen oxide pollution in Milan.
The values collected in the coming days could say something more about the effect of restrictions on coronavirus.
Among the experts on the relationship between the environment and the economy there are also those who hope that governments can rethink some production methods, giving greater importance, for example,
working from home, which reduces commuter travel , and further financing the sector of renewable energy sources.
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