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Video Shows China Pollution Decreasing During Coronavirus Lockdown - Then Returning

Video Shows China Pollution Decreasing During Coronavirus Lockdown - Then Returning

The animation comes from the European Space Agency and is based on data from the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite

Rebecca Shepherd

Rebecca Shepherd

The European Space Agency has released a video showing the decrease of air pollution over China as the country went into lockdown - then its returns as the quarantine measures start to ease:

The animation, based on data from the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite, shows nitrogen dioxide emissions, which are produced by the burning of fossil fuels over China, between 20 December and 16 March.

The European Space Agency reported: "The drop in concentrations in late January is visible, coinciding with the nationwide quarantine and from the beginning of March, the nitrogen dioxide levels have begun to increase."

Claus Zehner, the ESA mission manager, said nitrogen dioxide dropped by around 40 percent during the lockdown.

The agency continued: "By combining satellite observations with detailed computer models of the atmosphere, their studies indicated a reduction of around 20-30 percent in surface particulate matter over large parts of China."

When pollution dramatically improved.

This shows the pollution after the lockdown began to ease.

Earlier this week, imagery which was also provided from the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite showed the decline in air pollution over Italy between 1 January and 11 March 2020.

Once again, Claus Zehner was the man of the moment. He said: "The decline in nitrogen dioxide emissions over the Po Valley in northern Italy is particularly evident.

"Although there could be slight variations in the data due to cloud cover and changing weather, we are very confident that the reduction in emissions that we can see coincides with the lockdown in Italy, causing less traffic and industrial activities."

Josef Aschbacher, ESA's Director of Earth Observation, added: "Copernicus Sentinel-5P Tropomi is the most accurate instrument today that measures air pollution from space.

"These measurements, globally available thanks to the free and open data policy, provide crucial information for citizens and decision makers."

The government have told 1.5 million high-risk people to stay at home.

Although the UK hasn't been put on lockdown at the moment, the Government told 1.5 million high-risk people to stay at home for at least 12 weeks, earlier today (22 March).

People who can't get out to get food and other essential supplies will have parcels delivered to their doorsteps, as the Government works with the military on a regional distribution network that will take over pubs and other community hubs.

Boris Johnson has also stressed the importance of social distancing in a bid to protect the nation from the spread of coronavirus, saying in his daily briefing: "Take this advice seriously. Follow it because it's absolutely crucial."

He added: "We have to slow the spread of the disease."

Featured Image Credit: ESA

Topics: Environment, World News, News, China