COVID-19 lockdowns showed to significantly improve air quality

With some declaring it feels like 2020 has been ‘cancelled’ altogether, it’s not surprising to hear following the extended periods of lockdowns that have been seen worldwide. These lockdowns, previously known only to those unlucky enough to end up in jail, involved people staying home on mass, and often in self-isolation. The end of free movement as we knew it, however devastating or some, was quickly reported as having massive positive impacts in nature. One article that went viral even dolphins even said to have been cited in Venice’s once-again, clear blue canals. The validity of many of the loud claims from that period that went viral has since been somewhat debunked as mostly fake news.  

One piece of good news however that seems to be standing the test of time is that the worldwide lockdowns are having a positive impact on air quality across the globe. In the UK, the town of Horley, which is situated just south of major UK airport for the South-East of England, Gatwick, had seen a 60% reduction in nitrogen dioxide found in the air in comparison to the same period last year. This result comes as the UK has seen travel restrictions in place for only since June, a significant amount of time after neighbouring countries imposed restrictions on their own borders. 

Elsewhere, the Himilayas were visible for the first time in a generation in northern India. In China likewise, the reduction of emissions in lockdown from travel restrictions has been noted for reducing the number of hospital visits taking place at the same time. With second waves of the virus now emerging across the globe, more lockdowns are taking place once again and only time will tell, both the positive and negative, long-lasting impacts of this pandemic. With so much darkness in these strange and uncertain times, a positive environmental impact is a hope many hold on for.