by Conscious Reminder
The world is struggling to combat an ever-increasing and ever-spreading global pandemic.
Amidst all the kerfuffle, there has been a staggering 60% drop in the air pollution levels in 10 of the severely polluted cities, reveals new research.
On 21st April, Earth Day, a COVID-19 Air Quality report was published by IQAir, an air quality technology company based in Switzerland. The report revealed a sharp drop in the magnitude of air pollution, approximately 60%, in 10 of the major cities in the world.
This steep drop in the air pollution levels was caused by government-sanctioned measures to combat the new virus. This included a sudden closure of all non-essential businesses as well as other social distancing measures.
The IQAir study measured and examined the quantity of fine particulate matter, PM 2.5, present in the air, both pre-outbreak and post-outbreak. The particulate matter is harmful to the overall health of human beings. It gets embedded deep inside the lungs. Then, from there, it flows into the bloodstream and other organs.
A “drastic drop” in the magnitude of air pollution, when compared to the statistics of the previous year, was registered by the IQAir report. Among New Delhi, Los Angeles, Madrid, Wuhan, New York City, Mumbai, Seoul, São Paulo, and Rome, Rome was the only anomaly that didn’t register any significant change.
There was a 60% drop in the PM 2.5 levels in New Delhi, compared to 2019. Compared to its 68% hours of “unhealthy” air pollution ratings, in 2019, the metropolis now registered 17% of hours in 2020, post-lockdown. There was a 34% fall in the magnitude of air pollution in Mumbai too.
Seoul witnessed a 54% drop, while Wuhan’s soot levels decreased by 44%. São Paulo experienced a 32% reduction in its air pollution levels.
Los Angeles witnessed a sunny break from dense smog and jam-packed freeways. The post-lockdown registered air quality was one of the finest in years, according to the IQAir report.
There has been a sharp decline in the traffic flow because of the Safer-at-home restrictions. That, combined with the rejuvenating spring showers, brought about a steep decline in the particle pollution levels. A 31% drop compared to 2019 and 51% drop compared to the statistics of the past four years.
Glory Dolphin, the North American CEO of IQAir, commented on the issue saying, “About a year ago, Los Angeles was ranked the worst air quality in the entire country- and now we’re seeing some of the best air quality in the world.”
Meanwhile, in New York, the lockdown led to a 25% fall in the air pollution levels.
The fall in the magnitude of air pollution in Madrid and London was by far the most modest ones. London witnessed a meager 9% reduction, and Madrid 11%.
IQAir’s CEO, Frank Hermes, said, “Across the globe, the coronavirus pandemic has had a monumental impact on the way we live…we are also witnessing how much of air pollution comes from human activity. The drastic reduction in air pollution during COVID-19 lockdowns shows how our habits and behaviors directly impact the air we breathe.”
Compared to the horrid details of deaths, and other crises caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the reduction in the magnitude of air pollution has been the happiest news so far.
Sadly, the happiness won’t persist for long. The industries and cars will spew toxic fumes once again. After the lockdown restrictions are lifted, everything will fall back to square one.
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