The United States has closed all non-essential businesses, urged residents to stay home, closed schools, and so much more. As a result of these drastic actions to contain the coronavirus, COVID-19, pollution is dropping across the country.
March is almost over, and satellite imagery has provided a detailed look at just how much the pollution levels are declining. In particular, Nitrogen dioxide, a very potent greenhouse gas, has declined substantially.
Other greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide have also declined for the same reasons.
Why Is It Declining So Rapidly?
Nitrogen dioxide comes from multiple sources, but in particular, the biggest contributor is burning fuel. This can be the fuel in a car, truck, airplane, or even a power plant.
With many states enacting a lock-down, which has forced work and schools to shut down, people are not leaving their homes. This keeps vehicles off the road, which is a big part of why pollution is failing.
And it’s not just cars. Internation flights have been canceled with domestic flights likely to shut down as well. This has removed the biggest contributor of nitrogen dioxide from the air.
Improved Air Quality
While we may be locked inside to prevent the coronavirus from spreading, one thing is clear. The air quality has improved dramatically in the United States and the rest of the world.
The improved air quality will benefit our health in the long run. According to a report from earlier this month, this could save over 50,000 people from dying prematurely as a result.
The World Is Getting Cleaner
The coronavirus is a pandemic for the entire world, and many other countries are implementing similar or stricter policies as the United States. As a result, they are seeing similar benefits.
China is a prime example of this. As the world’s biggest polluter in the world, they have seen a tremendous decrease in the month of February.