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Coronavirus: Less pollution in Northern Italy

Credit: Pxfuel

In Northern Italy, which is now under lockdown due to the new coronavirus (Covid-19), pollution of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions has dropped, Europe’s Copernicus service reported on Tuesday.

Data from the Copernicus Sentinel 5-P satellite revealed a gradual reduction by about 10% per week over the past 10 days, the service said in a press release.

On 22 February, eleven cities in Lombardy and Venice were placed under quarantine, a measure which was gradually extended to the entire country.

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Average NO2 concentrations dropped from about 65 mg/m3 in January to 35 mg/m3 in the first fortnight of March, according to Copernicus’ data.

In China, too, NASA satellite images have shown a significant drop in pollution, due in part to the slowdown in the economy resulting from the coronavirus.

Nitrogen dioxide, which is released into the air mainly by vehicles and thermal plants, can cause breathing problems, especially asthma. According to the European agency on air quality, it causes 68,000 premature deaths per year in the European Union.


The Brussels Times

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