As temporary as it might be, people have restricted their outdoor activities due to the coronavirus pandemic. The lockdown measures and restrictions imposed worldwide by different governments have definitely brought a major change in the environment. With people trying to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus by following lockdown, social distancing and quarantine procedures, it has been observed that there is a dramatic dip in pollution and greenhouse gas levels. This environmental impact of COVID-19 can be seen in many cities such as Venice with its clearer waters and Delhi with blue skies, where only months ago high levels of pollution dominated.
With travel bans imposed and restrictions on almost all non-essential business around the planet, there have been reports of smog-free and clear blue skies in many of the most polluted cities. In fact, according to European Space Agency’s (ESA) recent data, there is “a decline in air pollution over northern Italy coinciding with its nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). New maps show the variation of nitrogen dioxide concentrations over China from December to March – thanks to the Tropomi instrument onboard the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite.”
These reports show how the shutdown of human activities has in a way brought unintended environmental consequences such as cleaner air and water in some of the most polluted cities on earth. To get a better understanding of these changes we have a series of pictures and videos showing this positive environmental impact of COVID-19.
Before And After Pictures Of Some Of The Most Populated And Polluted Cities Of The World
Delhi not smoggy anymore
The crowded waters of Venice, before
The clear waters of Venice, after
The blue skies in China
Haze in Mumbai’s atmosphere lifted
A layer of Los Angeles’ smog, before
Smog and dust in the city of Jakarta, Indonesia
The polluted city of Nairobi, before
After: a rare, clear glimpse of the jagged, snowcapped peaks of Mount Kenya behind the One Africa Place, a bullet-shaped glass high-rise in Nairobi
The hazy skyline of London, before
Aerial view of the Eiffel Tower in the fog in Paris, before
But, The Question Remains – Will Covid-19 Have A Lasting Impact On The Environment?
Environmental experts are trying to understand if a major drop in pollutants and improvement of air quality is a quick, temporary response to the lockdown measures. While scientists are trying to understand how climate change and the coronavirus are linked, they have also warned that this may be a “short-term positive”. The environmental policy experts and scientists believe that as coronavirus ebbs, it will result in higher levels of air pollution than before the outbreak.
For the time being, during these grim times, let’s look at this environmental impact of COVID-19, as a glimmer of hope. Let’s also take this as an opportunity to move towards more sustainable and resilient economies with green jobs and investments in clean energy.