Satellite images of China show decrease in air pollution due to coronavirus epidemic
Photos & Illustrations
[Josh Stevens/NASA Earth Observatory]
Satellite images of China comparing pollution levels between January and February 2020, show a dramatic decrease in the air pollutant nitrogen dioxide as entire cities have shut down due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic. The epidemic, which originated in Wuhan, China, in late 2019, quickly spread among the city's population. The government responded in January by placing the entire city of 15 million people on lockdown. Wuhan citizens were quarantined to their living spaces, factories were shut down, and trains were stopped. The lockdown quickly spread to millions more citizens in other cities as the virus spread. China typically has some of the worst pollution in the world, due to the heavy use of coal as well as vehicle emissions. However, the COVID-19 lockdowns drastically reduced factory and vehicle emissions, resulting in decreased pollution levels.