- Date: 06 June 2021
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How Lockdowns Affected Air Pollution
The 2020 pandemic affected the world globally. As the disease spread from one country and continent to another, governments took immediate action to prevent and combat the illness. One of the commonly used measures was lockdown.
Different countries deployed the tactic in different ways. The goal was to reduce the contact of people to lower the chance of virus transmission. Such action leads to positive and negative effects on different things.
While the economy slowed down, the air pollution lowered. It resulted in cleaner air in huge cities such as Beijing, London, Seoul, and many others around the globe. Here’s how lockdowns affected air pollution.
The Local Effect of Work from Home
The change in air quality occurred locally and globally. When you look at the local state of things, lockdown almost immediately affected the air quality. With the introduction of lockdown, cities saw incredibly lower traffic. Without vehicles in the streets, there was significantly less pollution.
The effects were the same for small cities. However, the bigger ones benefited the most. Cities counting millions of people face incredibly low air quality due to massive traffic. The high degree of traffic reduction, as a result of lockdown, led to significant improvement in air quality.
The exciting part is that the better air quality continued even without lockdowns. Many businesses opted for remote work, which helped the trend of low air pollution. That’s important because working remotely or with the hybrid approach will keep the traffic reduction a permanent change.
The effect will be healthier air for everyone, but it will also impact the global air quality.
Global Changes Driving Pollution Down
The lockdown didn’t only affect cities locally. It took a bit of time for the global effects to emerge. As the economy slowed down, so did the international traffic. A lower number of trucks, airplanes, and ships started impacting the air quality globally.
For example, according to the World Meteorological Organization, South East Asia experienced an impressive drop in unhealthy air particles by 40%. The change resulted in the reduction of nitrogen oxides, microparticles, sulfur dioxide, and carbon monoxide.
The information indicates that the lockdown and adaptation to the pandemics have impacted the air quality locally and globally. The most exciting fact is that the change will likely continue with the adoption of remote work models.
Is It Enough for a Better Future?
The lockdown has had a significant impact on air pollution reduction. However, it’s not enough to help prevent the current environmental crisis. A more considerable change in energy production is necessary to reverse the creation of current pollutants on a global scale.
Once those changes are in effect, a bigger reduction in air pollution will occur. The current trend of remote work will help with the change. But the governments will have to take the initiative and steps for permanent air quality improvement.
The lockdown has clearly shown the level of impact the traffic has on air quality.