Do you know, this Covid-19 lockdown is helping the environment around the world eliminate pollution by as much as 30%-40%?
Due to the shutdown of factories and businesses, and with fewer vehicles on the road and fewer planes in the sky, our environment is becoming free from nitrogen dioxide (NO₂) and pollution.
When the current NO₂ level of China was compared to January and February 2019, it showed a 40% drop in the NO₂ level which is equivalent to removing 192,000 cars from the road.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the industrial activities have shut down, traveling has been reduced and with flights been canceled, the greenhouse emission and the pollution all around the globe are decreasing with an immediate effect. This is the most positive thing happening from such a negative situation and crisis that we are facing right now.
As per a report by WHO, on average, 3 million people die each year because of the diseases caused by air pollution. It also says that nearly 80% of the people from the urban area breathe the air that is said to exceed the safety level. In those countries with lower income, 98% of cities are unable to meet the air quality standards set by WHO.
When the current pollution rate of Europe’s and Asia’s industrial area was compared with the data of 2019 by the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-5P satellite, it showed a 40% reduction in the levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO₂).
Within two weeks from the announcement of the lockdown, UK’s NO₂ pollution in a few cities dropped by 60% compared to the 2019’s data of the same period. Similarly, in New York and in other major metropolitan parts of North-Eastern USA, the NO₂ pollution fell by 30% in March 2020, compared to the monthly average from 2015 to 2019.
Increasing the percentage of NO2 is a result of increased road transport and power plants that lead to respiratory diseases such as asthma. But precautionary measures taken in such tough times is helping the world to eliminate major sources of air pollution like industry and transportation.
In Wuhan alone, 11 million people were in lockdown at the height of the outbreak there. China normally emits in excess of 30 megatonnes of nitrogen oxides per year, with estimates for 2019 reaching 40 megatonnes. China releases around 50% of all NO₂ in Asia. Each tonne of NO₂ that isn’t released, as a result of the pandemic, is resulting as an equivalent of removing 62 cars per year from the road and reducing the NO2 pollution from the environment.
Even if there would have been a reduction of 10% in the NO2 eliminated by China, it would have meant taking 48,000 cars off the road. But, a 40% drop in NO2 has resulted in eliminating around 192,000 cars. That’s a huge achievement.
As you can see, we can permanently fix our air pollution problem if we replace the usage of fuel/diesel cars by the electric cars or by expanding charging stations which would end the release of air pollutants such as NO2.
Hence, as you can see, in this case, the root cause of the pollution issue is being solved. This is helping the world reduce air pollution by a significant amount. Identifying the root cause and eliminating the same can bring better and direct results for all the issues that we face.
This approach can also help organizations that are dealing with similar issues. So, have you started applying the right tools to reach the root cause?
Source – WHO
Written & Compiled by Faber Mayuri & Faber Priyal