Before and After: Air quality across Pakistan improves as COVID-19 forces transportation and industries shut
The improvement shows that we must shift from using fossil fuels to clean energy.
The novel coronavirus has forced shut industries, transportation, and agricultural activities across the globe, resulting in an improvement in the ecosystem and air quality.
South Asian countries like India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh were amongst the most polluted countries in IQAir’s 2019 World Air Quality Report. However, as the virus continues to keep businesses locked down, it has been observed that the quality of air in these countries has significantly improved.
Due to the reduced use of fossil fuels in industries, power plants, and transportations, air pollution levels have decreased significantly. Pakistan’s data from the last few weeks shows that the lockdown has resulted in a drastic drop in pollution levels.
The images below show the drop in NO2 in the air in different cities of Pakistan 23 days before and after the lockdown.
NO2 is released into the air when fuel is burned and by emissions from cars, power plants, trucks, power plants, and other off-road equipment. NO2 is dangerous for health and is responsible for 120,000 asthma cases in children and 4,000 premature deaths in Pakistan yearly.
This staggering improvement shows the ‘irreversible’ damage that has been done to the environment can actually be reversed with the joint efforts of people. It also shows that we must shift from using fossil fuels to clean energy.
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