Air Pollution In New York Has Dropped By Nearly 50% Because People Are Staying Home

Ben PulsfordBen Pulsford in News, World
Published 20.03.20

Air pollution in New York has dropped by nearly 50% because people are staying home

We may be climbing the walls, but it we’re doing the Earth wonders.

Scientists have confirmed that global isolation – despite its inconvenience – is actually doing wonders for the planet right now. In fact, the the environmental benefits of us all being locked up for just a few days are appearing pretty sensational.

New York City’s carbon monoxide levels have plummeted, say researchers

A particularly bright spotlight is being shone on New York City right now. Experts are claiming that a dramatic drop in traffic congestion levels – as a result of citywide self-isolation – have led to emission levels being cut.

Researchers from Columbia University recently confirmed that the city’s carbon monoxide levels have plummeted by almost 50%, compared to levels in 2019.

The research team claims that street traffic has dropped by 35% since the COVID-19 outbreak, as a result of more and more people opting to stay indoors and curbing unnecessary travel, in a bid to slow the spread of the virus. Planet-heating carbon dioxide emissions have also dropped in New York City by 5 to 10%.

A view of the empty Times Square during the coronavirus outbreak in New York City.

Columbia University’s Prof Róisín Commane told BBC News:

“New York has had exceptionally high carbon monoxide numbers for the last year and a half.

“And this is the cleanest I have ever seen it. It’s is less than half of what we normally see in March.”

According to BBC News, experts have said that by May 2020, air toxicity levels might be at their lowest in over a decade – and all because New Yorkers chose to stay indoors.

A view of the empty Columbus Circle during the coronavirus outbreak in New York City.

Professor Corinne Le Quéré of the University of East Anglia adds:

“It will depend on how long the pandemic lasts, and how widespread the slowdown is in the economy particularly in the US. But most likely I think we will see something in the global emissions this year.”

“If it lasts another three or three of four months, certainly we could see some reduction.

Emissions are plummeting across the world as a result of self-isolation and quarantine

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the world, emissions in northern Italy have also significantly dropped, which according to The European Space Agency (ESA) “coincides with its nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus.”

On a smaller, but equally still remarkable scale, real estate agent and life-long Venetian Marco Capovilla, 40, filmed several schools of tiny fish swimming under the clear water surface in the canals of Venice which were previously clouded by debris.

Marco said he “had never seen” such clear water in the popular destination city, and added that it was a “striking” view.

He said:

“During these days, traffic in Venice has become almost absent.

“The city doesn’t have sewers, so normally everything goes into the canals, including detergents and cosmetics.

“Thanks to the quarantine, we are experiencing a cleaner environment.”

Thousands of miles away in China, air pollution has also dropped dramatically since the COVID-19 virus started to spread. NASA released satellite pictures of certain areas of China, showing the before and after effects of the COVID-19 virus.

As you can see, the satellite pictures are insanely different. One half shows some sort of Mad Max/Blade Runner 2049 orange world, while the other shows a more Toy Story/child’s bedroom blue.

So, all in all, keep day-drinking and binging Netflix series in your pants, huns.

The Earth thanks you for your service. 

Images via Getty and Twitter