Coronavirus is causing a dramatic drop in pollution in China

Coronavirus: These satellite images show a spectacular drop in pollution in China...

A decrease in air pollution related to the coronavirus epidemic?

These images published by NASA depict a spectacular decline in nitrogen dioxide levels in China between January and February 2020. This major pollutant is produced by motor vehicles, power plants, and industrial installations. Although the Chinese New Year causes an annual slowdown in the country’s industrial activity, NASA states that this trend alone doesn’t explain the phenomenon. “This is the first time I have seen such a dramatic drop-off over such a wide area for a specific event.”, Fei Lui, an air quality researcher at NASA, said.

The U.S. agency suggests that the coronavirus epidemic could be partly responsible for this drop in emissions. This epidemic has been ravaging China since the end of 2019 and has officially killed nearly 3,000 people in the country. It’s the containment measures set up by the government to stop the epidemic that may well have reduced air pollution. They reportedly have led to a decline of 25% in CO2 emissions between January 25 and February 8, 2020. The use of coal in power plants is at its lowest level in 4 years. In January, domestic flights were down 70% compared to the previous month.

One of the most spectacular results: the decrease in the concentration of nitrogen dioxide over the city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the epidemic quarantined on January 23, 2020. President Xi Jinping, however, has called for measures to be taken to limit the impact of the epidemic on China’s growth.