Global Pollution Maps Depict Air Quality Differences During COVID-19 Lockdown

Pollution is there everywhere in the world, and now the European Space Agency has created a platform where people from anywhere in the world can access online and track the pollution around the world.

This platform is called the ‘Copernicus Sentinel-5P Mapping Portal’, as it pulls data from the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite launched in 2017 to map pollutants around the globe. This satellite is programmed to identify the “unique fingerprint” of atmospheric gases in order to generate an accurate analysis of air pollution at a higher resolution.

Nitrogen Dioxide is a gas that’s not environmentally friendly, and is released from vehicles and power plants as they burn fuel. As we get exposed to this gas on a daily or hourly basis as we engage in our daily activities, it negatively affects our respiratory system resulting in diseases such as asthma, coughing, wheezing, difficulty in breathing etc.

Through the analysis of collected data, the maps present the average nitrogen dioxide level over a 14-day average. Further, the map also emphasizes on the areas where there’s a noticeable decrease.

According to the issued maps, a decrease in NO2 in China can be seen since the beginning of this year. One main reason for this was also the lockdown imposed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic which almost halted a majority of human activities that emits this gas.

This image shows the progressive decrease in the NO2 concentration over China.

No2 concentration China

In Europe too, there was a drastic decrease between March and April.

No2 concentration Europe

India experienced a 50% decrease because of the lockdown.

No2 concentration india

Image Source – ESA


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