Global Quarantine: The Surprising Environmental Benefits For Malta & The Rest Of The World 🌎
For the last decade, China's air pollution has been double the World Health Organization's recommended level that is safe for humans, with Malta also having very similar statistics.
Now, for the first time in years, places like China, Malta & countries all around the world are experiencing a lack of emissions due to Coronavirus quarantines.
Local Improvements ❤️
Taking a look at Malta's air quality now, we've experienced a 70% drop in Nitrogen dioxide readings.
The usual metrics for somewhere like Msida, as shown by the November 6th image, are unfortunately quite high and classified as Unhealthy for residents to breathe in.
On the contrary though, after the halting of traffic, flights & most people now working indoors, we can see the rating has dropped massively to a far healthier level.
Pollution Is Down Globally ⬇️
The above image shows levels of Air Pollution in China, a month before & after the pandemic broke out. As you can see, with multiple flight bans and millions of people now working from home, a range of emissions have been cut dramatically.
Furthermore, from Feb 3rd to March 1st, China's CO2 emissions went down by 25%.
That 25% represents 200 million tons of carbon dioxide - which is more than half the entire annual emissions output of the UK. Considering that China is a huge polluter that contributes to 30% of the world's CO2 emissions annually, the impact of this kind of drop is huge.
Significant reductions in air pollution have also been recorded in Italy, see below👇
The Link Between Pollution & Coronavirus 💨
Unfortunately, although air pollution is currently down, the terrible practices of the past will come back to haunt coronavirus patients in the coming weeks.
Breathing polluted air is linked to causing conditions like diabetes, respiratory disease & high blood pressure, which doctors are starting to associate with higher death rates for people that get COVID-19.
In fact, one study of the SARS pandemic in 2003, found that people living in regions with even just a moderate amount of air pollution were 84 percent more likely to die.
So then, physicians conclude that people who've developed pollution-induced chronic conditions will be far less able to fight off Corona.
"Revenge Pollution" 😳
While lockdown measures designed to slow the spread of the virus have caused a cut in global emissions, as shown in the lovely blue skies of Beijing above, experts warn that when countries start to reboot their economies they may double down to make up for lost time...
This is most likely an unavoidable reality, air pollution could rebound with a vengeance when factories and traffic spring back to life. In fact, the Chinese government has already said that it plans to relax environmental regulations so that factories can speed up production.
It truly is a shame, as one Stanford scientist estimated that China’s coronavirus lockdown could have saved over 77,000 lives simply from the cutting of the country's emissions.