Quarantined and Breathing Clean

The amazing difference in air quality, due to COVID-19

Internationally, nations have all been battling the COVID-19 pandemic. As we all are aware quarantine measures have been implemented and full lock downs in China, Italy, France and Spain with more to come. As scary as it all is, there are positives that have arisen from this social distancing and isolation.

Air pollution indexes have shown dramatic improvements in air quality, both in China and Italy. Nitrogen Dioxide is produced by burning fuel, power plants and vehicles, this causes smog and hazardous air quality in populated areas. Since the quarantine measures, dangerous emissions have dropped up to 40%. People in Beijing and Shanghai have reported seeing blue skies for the first time and water running clear in the canals of Venice. Images have surfaced on twitter where animals have returned to waterways. Fish and swans can be seen in the canals due to the lack of traffic in Venice and even dolphins have been spotted on Italian shore lines due to the suspension of ferry services.

Amazingly just in the last month of quarantine in China, the reduction in air pollution could’ve  potentially saved up to tens of thousands of lives.

Earth Systems Professor Marshall Burke writes, “Two months of pollution reduction likely has saved the lives of 4,000 kids under 5 and 73,000 adults over 70 in China.”

This is really a time to be thinking about how we as a global community are a lot more connected than we might think. This virus does not discriminate and neither does climate change. As horrible as this pandemic has been and is still to become, we need to seriously be taking into account these other wake-up calls.

Amongst the current quarantines and the lock downs still to come, I think it’s important to promote the Earth Hour initiative. Next Saturday the 28th of March at 8:30pm is Earth Hour where everyone switches all lights and electricity off. I think as we will all most likely be in lock down by then, it’s no better time for us all to come together to create something positive out of this International Crisis. So join me in signing up at earthhour.org.au and in the meantime stay safe and healthy. Remember to keep your distance from others, stay home if you are unwell and wash your hands!

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