Hyderabad: Satellite images released by Nasa and the European Space Agency shows that there has been a significant decrease in the nitrogen dioxide levels in China. Nitrogen dioxide is one of the major components of pollution and Nasa scientists attribute this decrease to the economic slowdown in China.

Since 23 January, as part of quarantine measures after the outbreak of COVID-19 or Corona virus, most of the industries, local businesses, and transport have shut down in China. Scientists say this has led to a decrease in pollution levels in the country.

When satellite images taken on 28 January 2019 were compared with images taken on 28 January 2020, it showed that there has been a 30 per cent decrease in nitrogen dioxide. NASA’s Satellite Aura enabled with the ozone monitoring instrument, and the ESA’s Sentinel-5 satellites, enabled with tropospheric monitoring instrument, helped get these images.

In China, air pollution decreases in January due to the New Year celebrations when industries are shut down. But this year, due to the quarantine measures, the pollution levels have gone further down, said Barry Lefer, an air quality scientist at Nasa.

Liu who was part of this research said, “This year, the reduction rate is more significant than in past years and it has lasted longer. I am not surprised because many cities nationwide have taken measures to minimise the spread of the virus.”

Prior to this during the economic recession in 2008, Nasa had seen a gradual decrease in nitrogen dioxide levels of China.
After the Corona virus outbreak in January 2020, China put infected cases under quarantine, but the disease spread to other parts of the globe. Some of the worst affected nations are Iran, Italy, and Singapore.

Aiswarya Sriram

Aiswarya Sriram is a budding multimedia journalist and is currently working for NewsMeter as a "Factcheck Freelancer". A graduate from Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media (IIJNM) Bangalore, Aiswarya has earlier worked with The Logical Indian and has interned with Republic TV. Aiswarya, a Tamilian who was born and brought up in Mumbai, loves to do rural reporting. She has visited Byadgi Taluk of Karnataka, to write about the issues faced by chilli factory workers there, earlier in 2019. A craft enthusiast, Aiswarya also does quilling, painting and glass work. On her off-days, she loves to read crime-thrillers and watch anime. She primarily reports on civic issues, GHMC, human-interesting features, and fact-checking video stories.

One comment on "China’s pollution levels down due to Coronavirus, says satellite data"

  • I prepared a graph of pollution by parameter for 1998 to 2010 to submit a report to Supreme Court appointed Bhurelal Committee during their visit to APPCB on 7th October 2010 on invitation from the committee. In this graph I presented pollution levels rise on Deepavali Day and Lorry strike on 8-1-2009. With the lorry strike RSPM decreased by around 17%, TSPM by around 21%. On Deepavali day RSPM increased by more than 59%, TSPM by more than 27%, SO2 by more than 1344% and NOx by more than 200%.

    Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

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