Europe experiences a dip in pollution levels amid coronavirus-induced lockdowns

Edited By: Bharat Sharma WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Updated: Mar 28, 2020, 01:52 PM(IST)

Paris during a lockdown Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

As emissions drop over European cities, the skies are clearer than ever!

Satellite images have revealed that European air pollution levels have witnessed a downfall amid the coronavirus lockdown.

As emissions drop over European cities, the skies are clearer than ever!

However, scientists warn of the longer-term threat to the progress made in tackling climate change progress.

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The coronavirus pandemic is shutting down countries across the world, causing a significant decline in air pollution.

Recent satellite images reveal that the air pollution from nitrogen dioxide has fallen by 40 per cent in three European cities including Paris and Madrid.

Men working for food delivery services wait outside a restaurant in Madrid on March 27, 2020 amid a national lockdown | AFP

Researchers studying the impact of emissions from industry and transport on climate change and human health are scrambling to understand the possible implications of the coronavirus pandemic.

"Spectrometers are measuring in different parts of the electromagnetic spectrum. In this particular case, we are having measurement, so we are taking measurements in the ultraviolet, in the visible, in the infra-red and the shortwave infra-red, and then absorption bands of no2. And that allows us therefore to measure the concentration of no2 in the atmosphere", said Josef Aschbacher, the Director of Earth Observation Programmes at the European Space Agency.

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For Europe, it is the only silver lining in this global coronavirus pandemic as almost every city-dwelling European is exposed to pollution levels that exceed healthy levels.

But the pandemic’s unintended climate impact also offers a glimpse into how countries and corporations are equipped to handle the slower-moving but destructive climate change crisis.

So far, the researchers warn that the world is ill-prepared. 

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