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article imageCOVID-19 lockdown has a significant impact on air quality

By Tim Sandle     Jun 1, 2020 in Environment
New research is demonstrating that during the time of the COVID-19 lockdown, there has been a change in environmental conditions. The lockdowns are significantly impacting global air quality.
The lockdowns put in place as part of the COVID-19 measures have had an impact upon air pollution levels, leading to significant decreases in pollutants. This is in relation to nitrogen dioxide. Figures relating to China, Europe and the U.S. show up to a 60 percent decrease in levels.
A further reduction in pollutants relates to a fall in the levels of particulate matter (classed as particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers). This has dropped by 35 percent in China (China stands as a common benchmark for pollution levels, given that parts of China - the big industrial cities - are the worst areas for air pollution in the world. These types of particles have the ability to penetrate into the lungs and cause long-term damage.
Reductions in this pollutant are significant. Nitrogen dioxide is a reactive gas generated during combustion. The impact of this pollutant is of potential danger to human lungs. The major sources are emissions from vehicles, power plants and other industrial activities.
There is one downside, however. A secondary pollutant -- ground-level ozone -- has increased in China. Ozone is formed when sunlight and high temperature trigger chemical reactions in the lower atmosphere. There are risks to people from pulmonary and heart disease when levels are high.
The research has been published in two journals. The first is in Geophysical Research Letters, with a paper titled: "Impact of coronavirus outbreak on NO2 pollution assessed using TROPOMI and OMI observations. Geophysical Research Letters." The second research paper is from the same journal, and it is titled "The Response in Air Quality to the Reduction of Chinese Economic Activities 1 during the COVID-19 Outbreak."
More about Lockdown, coronavirus, Air pollution, Air quality
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