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Coronavirus and climate: how the pandemic is changing the planet

A man wearing a face mask walks at a riverside park in Wuhan of Hubei province, the epicentre of China's coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, March 26, 2020.

Coronavirus and climate: how the pandemic is changing the planet

Coronavirus and climate: how the pandemic is changing the planet

With the world battling the COVID-19 pandemic, and a quarter of the population under lockdown, there have emerged some positive benefits when it comes to the environment.

Emissions fall in China as blue skies emerge

Wuhan, the city where COVID-19 first emerged, is one of the world’s biggest industrial cities. Since the city has been in lockdown, CO2 emissions have fallen dramatically and residents have reported seeing blue skies.

With factories and industrial hubs shut down, coal use has fallen by 40% at China’s biggest power plants, compared to 2019 and the days with “good quality air” have increased by 11.4%.

NASA satellite footage has captured this significant shift, showing a major drop in nitrogen dioxide in China.

 

Canals in Venice clear up

With the city in lockdown and tourists dispersed, the pollution in Venice’s canals has cleared up, revealing crystal clear waters for the first time in years.

Clear water is seen in Venice’s canals due to less tourists, motorboats and pollution, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Venice, Italy, March 18, 2020 REUTERS/Manuel Silvestri – RC2DMF9DWB3G

London sees major drop in pollution

As the number of cars in London’s streets dwindle, scientists have discovered air pollution has halved. Data captured by the London Air Quality Network shows pollutants falling about 50% since mid-February.

“Air quality has started to improve in many UK cities, mirroring what has been seen in other countries that have restricted travel and levels of outdoor activity,’ said Professor Alastair Lewis, from the National Centre for Atmospheric Science, University of York.

Members of the Household Cavalry ride over an almost empty Westminster bridge as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in London, Britain, March 26, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville – RC2NRF96B1VU

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