The European Space Agency ESA used images from China to show the increasing levels of air pollution that are increasing globally with the removal of quarantines in countries. “Now, more than a year after the pandemic emerged, as restrictions eased, air pollution is on the rise again,” the space agency said in a statement.
Images created using data from ESA’s Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite show monthly average nitrogen dioxide concentrations in China in February 2019, February 2020 and February 2021.
It was stated that between February 2019 and February 2020, the decrease in nitrogen dioxide concentrations in Beijing, the capital of China, was 35 percent, and the decrease in Chongqing was 45 percent.
However, ESA announced that as of February 2021, Beijing returned before Covid-19, while Chongqing nearly doubled the pre-Covid-19 figures.
INCREASE IS EXPECTED IN THE USA AND EUROPE
“We previously predicted that as quarantines disappear all over the world, air pollution will increase again. However, nitrogen dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere are not solely dependent on human activity. Weather like wind speed and cloud cover.” conditions also affect these levels, but most of last year’s reductions have been due to quarantine implementations. We expect an increase in nitrogen dioxide concentrations also in Europe in the coming weeks and months.
“DECREASE IN AIR POLLUTION SAVED THE LIVES OF 50 THOUSAND AND 75 THOUSAND PEOPLE”
Zehner stated that a similar trend is observed in the USA with China. Satellite images taken in March 2020 showed less nitrogen dioxide concentrations, especially in areas where early quarantine measures were taken on the West Coast of the province. Marshall Burke, an assistant professor in the Stanford Department of Earth System Science, said that better air quality during this period could have saved 50,000 to 75,000 people in the US from premature death.