Short-term improvement in air quality due to COVID lockdown in 2020

Geneva (Associated Press)-The United Nations Meteorological Agency said that the world-especially urban areas-experienced a brief and sharp drop in air pollutant emissions last year due to lockdown measures and related travel restrictions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic.

The World Meteorological Organization issued its first Air Quality and Climate Bulletin on Friday, warning that the reduction in pollution is sporadic — levels in many parts of the world exceed air quality guidelines. Some types of pollutants continue to appear at normal or even higher levels.

WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said: “It turns out that COVID-19 is an unplanned air quality experiment, and it did lead to temporary local improvements.” “But the pandemic cannot replace it. Continuous and systematic action to respond to the main drivers of population and climate change, thereby protecting the health of people and the planet.”

The Geneva-based organization pointed out that due to many governments restricting gatherings, closing schools and imposing blockades, pollutant emissions have been “unprecedentedly reduced.”

WMO specifically pointed out that compared with the same period from 2015 to 2019, the average level of nitrous oxide dropped by nearly 70% during the total blockade measures last year. But for example, the ozone level remains at a similar level or even rises.

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