Comparative images between January 1 and March 11 show the reduction of air pollution in the sky of Italy. Credit: AP / ESA
The air pollution in Italy it has been drastically reduced during the last week, coinciding with the national quarantine imposed due to the pandemic of the new coronavirus or COVID-19.
According to satellite images taken by the European Space Agency (ESA) the reduction of air pollution over that country is “particularly evident”.
On March 13, ESA released a video showing the significant decrease in levels of carbon dioxide (CO2), gas emitted by the burning of fossil fuels, both by transport vehicles and industries.
The decrease in pollution is most notable in northern Italy, just where it has been the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the country.
Pollution reduction in Italy
The video shows the variation in emissions between January 1 and March 11, 2020. The reduction occurs extremely fast and “particularly evident” in the past week, coinciding with restrictions on transportation and industries.
– ESA EarthObservation (@ESA_EO) March 13, 2020
The animation was made with data obtained by the satellite Copernicus Sentinel-5P, which monitors the atmosphere and tracks polluting gases.
The information revealed by the satellite confirms a past publication by the NASA researcher, Santiago Gassó, which he published in Twitter two comparative images with CO2 emissions between February 7 and March 7.
Comparing images from single days is suggestive at best. For ex, day selection is important there is more activity during weekdays than in weekends. Here are displayed two weekend days one-month apart. The decrease is clear. Yet this needs to be with independent obs networks. https://t.co/LqK2b3Vn9H pic.twitter.com/rwpFjSJDJT
– Santiago Gassó (@SanGasso) March 12, 2020
Now, with the evidence revealed by ESA, the trend seems real. “
This phenomenon also occurred weeks ago in China, where the outbreak of the new coronavirus caused a drastic decrease of pollution in Wuhan, China.
Meanwhile in Italy, the death toll rose to 1,809 and 24,747 infected.