Air pollution in China returns to pre-COVID-19 levels

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The coronavirus crisis has paralyzed the world in many ways, however, one positive thing about it was the reduction in pollution levels in many countries.  

Unfortunately, this condition is again being reversed. China is again registering high levels of pollution.

The Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air (Crea) released interesting data. These data showed that concentrations of fine particles (PM 2.5 ) and nitrogen dioxide (NO 2 ) in China are practically the same as a year before.

In Early March, the level of nitrogen dioxide decreased 38% from 2019 and PM 2.5 levels decreased 34% in China.

The level of nitrogen dioxide recently registered in Wuhan, where the coronavirus outbreak originated, was 14% lower in comparison to last year.

However, on the side of Shanghai, they are 9% higher than last year.

Lauri Myllyvirta, an analyst at Crea, points out that this “rapid upturn in pollution and coal consumption in China is an early warning of what will be a rebound led by the manufacturing industry.”

According to him, the most polluting industries have been those that have returned to work the fastest after the crisis. Consequently, “it is essential that leaders implement policies that prioritize clean energy.”

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Pollution level in Europe

Europe experienced a reduction in the pollution level. The Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Service (Cams), responsible to track pollution in 50 European cities, revealed important data.

In 42 of the 50 European cities, the nitrogen dioxide levels recorded were below average in March.

London and Paris also experienced a reduction in the nitrogen dioxide level.

According to experts, the contamination will return to previous values, although they have not yet been able to prove it.

” It remains to be seen. We do not know how people’s behavior will change, for example avoiding public transport and relying more on their cars or continuing to telecommute, ” explained Vincent-Henri Peuch, director of Cams.