Global Lockdowns May Save More People from Air Pollution than COVID-19

COVID-19 is rapidly spreading throughout the world, and although many people are being frightened to its disastrous effects, it seems that our planet benefits from it a lot. Namely, the reduced industrial activity due to the virus dramatically lowered air pollution.

The first epicenter of the virus was Wuhan that after so many years now has blue sky, and Venice has never been as cleaned as it is now and the solid proof for that are the photos of the clear waters in the canals of Venice.

Most governments in the world, especially in Europe implemented safety measures that lead to lower emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gasses. According to the prediction of scientists by May 2020, period of the year when CO2 emissions are at their highest peak as a result of the decomposition of leaves, the levels of pollution will be lower than 10 years ago during the financial crisis in the world.

Global Lockdowns May Save More People from Air Pollution than COVID-19

WHO – The World Health Organization reports that about 7 million people die from air pollution every year.

Forbes Magazine reports the following: “the global death toll of an uncontained pandemic remains largely a matter of conjecture.”

The most dramatic projections that have been released—too hastily to be peer-reviewed—put the global death toll of an unchecked pandemic in the millions—total, not annual. Most credible estimates are much less. Some experts have compared it to the 1957 flu outbreak that killed just over 1 million. The toll from a contained outbreak would, of course, be much smaller.”

Marshall Burke, a scientist at Stanford University scientist, states that the 2-month quarantine in China has already saved the lives of 77,000 people, out of which are 4,000 children under the age of 5 and 73,000 adults over the age of 70, from air pollution. Furthermore, he clarifies that “even under more conservative assumptions”; the number of lives saved will be 20 times the number of coronavirus deaths there.

The director of The Hugo Observatory, François Gemenne studies the interactions between environmental changes and human migration, and regarding this issue he maintains the following:

More than likely the number of lives that would be spared because of these confinement measures would be higher than the number of lives that would be lost because of the pandemic [had it not been contained].”

Gemenne states that air pollution kills almost 48,000 people in France annually, and more than a million in China.

He concludes:

These are fascinating times. What surprises me most is that the measures that we are ready to take to face this coronavirus are much more severe than the measures we would be ready to take to face climate change or atmospheric pollution.

I think this is something that should question us: why are we so much more afraid of the coronavirus than we are of climate change or atmospheric pollution or other kinds of threats.

What is so special about the coronavirus that we are ready to put the whole world on lockdown because of that?”