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The Impact of Coronavirus on Air Pollution

By: Alisa Zhou

The Coronavirus has quarantined individuals and communities all over the world at an unprecedented rate. In an effort to reduce illness and transmission, a majority of countries have enforced some form of lockdown. Small and large-scale businesses have been asked to shut down, domestic and international travel restrictions have been enforced, and individuals have been recommended to practice social distance and avoid non-essential outdoor activities. Even with its detrimental impact to public health and the economy, some positive light has surfaced amid the Coronavirus pandemic. The lack of cars and public transportation operating during times of lockdown has caused a decline in air pollution. In New York City, for example, carbon emissions were nearly 50% less compared to last year. Scientists predict that by May, carbon emissions could clock in at a record low since the US financial crisis. India has also recorded much lower levels of pollution, particularly those released by vehicles and power plants, as industry and transport networks grind to a virtual halt. The decline in air pollution has been positively received by the Indian public as India has one of the highest rates of respiratory disease in the world, potentially increasing the risks associated with the coronavirus. While the Coronavirus crisis is certainly not an ideal way to lower air pollution, it’s environmental impact proves that air pollution is manmade. This should give everyone encouragement and hope that a collective effort can help the world achieve a greener future.



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