Satellite Images Reveal a Drastic Drop in Pollution Due to the Coronavirus Quarantine

The coronavirus has affected thousands of people in the world spreading fear and panic among people. The epicenter of this virus was in China and after that it came into Europe and other parts of the world. At the moment Italy is mostly affected with coronavirus and the death toll got higher in the past weeks.

The Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte warned his citizens about the possible tragic events of the people and asked them not to be socially active, but they did not listen. Therefore, on March 8 he ordered lockdown in North Italy. The citizens were restricted to travel from, to or within the affected areas, and also a ban was introduced on all cultural events. But, this was not enough as the situation escalated, so the prime minister restricted the movements of the citizens on all area in Italy. Due to rapid increase of infected people whole Italy is in quarantine.

In these dark times, when everyone wants to hear that the scientists have found the vaccine for this virus, something else came to the surface.

Drastically lower NO2 levels above Italy 

Namely, the European Space Agency (ESA) that has a spacecraft tracking air pollution in the atmosphere, and also some independent researchers have revealed that the levels of nitrogen dioxide emissions have dramatically got lower over Italy after the lockdown.

In addition to this, the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite also showed reduced NO2 emissions, especially in the northern part of the country. The air pollution decreased as a result of the quarantine caused by COVID-19 as the activities of the people and as well as industries got lower.

ESA’s Copernicus Sentinel-5P mission manager, Claus Zehner, maintained the following:

“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.”

ESA’s Director of Earth Observation Programmes, Josef Aschbacher, stated:

 “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 graphs show reduced NO2 pollution from the 14th of February

Less NO2 traces on the 24th of February

A research associate at NASA, Santiago Gassó, also concluded that “there is a clear decrease of NO2 levels (a pollution marker) in northern Italy according to the satellite sensor’. He said that the fluctuation of the NO2 emissions are entirely normal, but in this case the change dramatic, especially in March.

Check the charts below:

NO2 pollution levels on the 8th February, Saturday

NO2 pollution levels on 7th March, Saturday

The European Space Agency (ESA) reports the same decrease

Check the video below showing the time-lapse from ESA

Venice canals crystal clear due to reduced traffic

The Italians noticed the change in the environment