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.

Also read: Before and after pictures of famous landmarks in a post-COVID-19 world

Before And After Pictures Of  Some Of The Most Populated And Polluted Cities Of The World

Delhi not smoggy anymore

Environmental impaCt of COVID-19
Source: REUTERS/ANUSHREE FADNAVIS/ADNAN ABIDI

The crowded waters of Venice, before

Venice Carnival, environmental impact of COVID-19

The clear waters of Venice, after

Environmental impact of COVID-19
Source: REUTERS/MANUEL SILVESTRI

The blue skies in China

Haze in Mumbai’s atmosphere lifted

Source: REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis/Adnan Abidi

A layer of Los Angeles’ smog, before

After

Source: David McNew | Getty Images

Smog and dust in the city of Jakarta, Indonesia

Source: Willy Kurniawan | Reuters

The polluted city of Nairobi, before

coachbuilder in the city of Nair

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

Environmental Impact of COVID-19
Source: OSMAN SIDDIQUI, a resident of Nairobi, Mount Kenya can be seen from densely populated Nairobi over 85 miles away.

The hazy skyline of London, before

London, United Kingdom – February 26 2019: cityscape skyline aerial view sunset skyscrapers BT business finance economy travel

After

Environmental Impact of COVID-19

Italy

Source: European Space Agency

Spain

Source: ESA | Handout via Reuters

Aerial view of the Eiffel Tower in the fog in Paris, before

After

Environmental Impact of COVID-19
Source: Michel Euler | AP

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.

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