In the several weeks that have passed since the shut down of Wuhan, it has been widely reported that air pollution has greatly diminished in the surrounding region. It appears that something similar is also beginning to happen in Italy, which has also recently gone into a countrywide lockdown.
The European Space Agency (ESA) released a timelapse video taken from space, which shows how drastically the air pollution has decreased.
New data from the Copernicus EU #Sentinel5P mission reveal a decline of air pollution, specifically nitrogen dioxide emissions, over Italy. This reduction is particularly visible in northern Italy which coincides with its nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of the #coronavirus 👉http://www.esa.int/ESA_Multimedia/Videos/2020/03/Coronavirus_nitrogen_dioxide_emissions_drop_over_Italy
Posted by ESA – European Space Agency on Friday, March 13, 2020
Claus Zehner, who manages the Copernicus Sentinel-5P, the satellite which took the photos over the Po Valley region, told the Independent that researchers are confident these changes are due to the reduction of activity at factories and on highways.
“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,” Zehner said.
The canals in Venice have also been unusually clear as traffic in the waterways has come to a halt. According to a report from the Italian publication TGCOM24, the typically murky waters in the Venice canals have cleared up as everyone has been locked inside.
Images of the current condition of the canals were posted to the Facebook group “Clean Venice”.
The caption for one of the photos read, “Incredible images of the Rio dei Ferali, behind San Marco square, usually cloudy. Nature reclaims its spaces. Less traffic, less discharges.”
One of the members of the group further explained to others that the boats were not kicking up sediment as they would during a normal season.
“As regards the clarity, the absence of traffic that moves the sediments is certainly the cause of this miracle from the tropical sea. The reduced discharges and the water exchange of the tides instead benefit the quality of the waters,” the member explained.
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John Vibes is an author and journalist who takes a special interest in the counter culture, and focuses solutions-oriented approaches to social problems. He is also a host of The Free Your Mind Conference and The Free Thought Project Podcast.