Coronavirus lockdowns continue to suppress pollution in European cities

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Air pollution plunges in European cities amid coronavirus lockdown: Report
Air pollution plunges in European cities amid coronavirus lockdown: Report

New Delhi : With humans getting locked inside houses, the coronavirus lockdown is leaving some positive signs over European cities, the air pollution at the major cities has plunged to almost 40 per cent during the Covid 19 lockdown, according to a satellite data released by the European Space Agency (ESA).

The space agency's Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite mission on Friday shared three composite images showing the change in nitrogen dioxide level in the period March 14-25 over France, Spain and Italy, compared to the monthly average of concentrations from 2019.

"This is a first-level estimate; some of these values have gone down by about 40% of the normal value... so a very drastic decrease," Josef Aschbacher, ESA Director of Earth Observation Programmes, told Reuters via a video call.

Researchers studying the impact of emissions from industry and transport on climate change and human health are now trying to understand the effect of lockdown as the economies are slow, flights are disrupted and quarantines have been imposed. 

"What you really see are the centres of this pollution… It is quite a good first level indicator of anthropogenic pollution coming from traffic and industry," added Aschbacher.

Nitrogen Dioxide is responsible for several respiratory and heart problems.

Almost every city-dwelling European is exposed to pollution levels that exceed healthy levels, according to a 2019 report from the European Environment Agency (EEA).