The COVID-19 pandemic is wreaking havoc on countries around the world, causing a global health crisis while forcing economies to shut down in the face of strict quarantine measures. But the outbreak is also having an intriguing impact on Earth's environment, as nations restrict the movement of people.
One of the areas that scientists are witnessing a big difference is in air quality. It seems that the pandemic is already leading to huge reductions in air pollution in those regions that have been significantly affected by COVID-19—such as China and Italy—as industry, aviation and other forms of transport grind to a halt.
"Air pollution levels as observed by satellite are showing drastic improvements in many areas that have been undergoing restrictive quarantines due to COVID-19," Peter DeCarlo, an Associate Professor of Environmental Health Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, told Newsweek. "Both China and Italy industrial areas are showing strong drops in nitrogen dioxide (NO2) corresponding to reductions in industrial activity and vehicular traffic. This isn't surprising given that vehicles and industry are the main source of NO2 and when these sources are essentially turned off, the atmosphere will clear up relatively quickly," he said.
In some cities, such as Venice, the pandemic is having unexpected environmental effects. Several social media users have reported that the water in is famous canals—which are now virtually empty as a result of the coronavirus lockdown—appears to be unusually clear.
Reviewed by: ARISTOS GEORGIOU