Social distancing guidance worldwide has given all of us a glimpse of the world without the levels of pollution of ‘normal life’.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused industrial activity to shut down and cancelled flights and other journeys, slashing greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution around the world. If there is something positive to take from this terrible crisis, it could be that it’s offered a taste of the air we might breathe in a low-carbon future.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that about 3 million people die each year from ailments caused by air pollution, and that more than 80% of people living in urban areas are exposed to air quality levels that exceed safe limits. The situation is worse in low-income countries, where 98% of cities fail to meet WHO air quality standards.
Measurements from the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-5P satellite show that during late January and early February 2020, levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO₂) over cities and industrial areas in Asia and Europe were lower than in the same period in 2019, by as much as 40%.
Earth Day is when people all around the world are encouraged to do things to benefit the environment, from recycling and planting trees to reducing our carbon footprints.
This year will obviously be different from the normal marches and gatherings with people staying at home, however this is a good opportunity to investigate different opportunities with your family to improve the planet from your own home and garden.