Coronavirus: air quality improves in China, Italy

Coronavirus: air quality improves in China, Italy
Credit: © Belga

After analyses by the European Space Agency showed that nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution over major Chinese cities had decreased by 30-50% compared to the same period last year, it is now the turn of carbon dioxide (CO) to be screened.

Observations indicate that in February CO concentrations decreased by 10 to 45% in the entire region between Wuhan and Beijing. An impact is also visible in Italy, although the period studied is too short to make the analysis robust, the l'Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) said on Wednesday.

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This boost in air quality has been linked to the new Coronavirus (covid-19) related quarantine of several cities and even regions since the main sources of pollutants are linked to road traffic and industrial emissions.

Usually, "this period is the most active for air pollution because coal-fired power stations are running at full capacity and emit CO en masse, a colourless and odourless gas that persists in the atmosphere for several weeks and can, therefore, travel hundreds of kilometres," explains Cathy Clerbaux of the ULB's Faculty of Sciences. "But this year, and for the first time since 2008, we are seeing a significant decrease in pollutants throughout Northern China."

Since mid-January, several Chinese cities have been under quarantine, leading to low production levels in several industrial cities.

The Brussels Times

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