The global coronavirus pandemic is having a devastating effect on economies worldwide. However, one of the few positive consequences of travel restrictions and the industry downturn has been a temporary reduction in air pollution. This has made skies cleaner and clearer.
Both of Africa’s tallest peaks, Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Kenya clearly visible from Nairobi this morning at almost 180° apart. Photos by @marquington pic.twitter.com/ssfVa257Kn
— Kenya Pics (@kenyapics) April 16, 2020
In places like China, for instance, satellites captured the sharp drop in air pollution amid the pandemic lockdowns, but levels quickly bounced back once the restrictions were eased.
Urban residents across Europe do not want to see air pollution return to pre-COVID-19 levels. They support profound changes to protect clean air, according to fresh YouGov opinion polling in 21 European cities.
“Air is the one thing we can’t live without,” says Owen J. Morgan, Global Ecology Group Founder and CEO. Yet, the air we breath is one manifestation of our poisonous ambition. “We have damaged air so much,” Owen adds.
“There is currently a PhD student in London who is monitoring the air over the university where they are, and there are nanoparticles of plastic in every sample they are taking,” says Owen. “It’s insane.”
And indeed, particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, ground-level ozone – more than 90 percent of children worldwide inhale poisoned air. Dirty air is the “new tobacco”, the Guardian quotes the World Health Organisation Director Tedros Adhanom.
→ Now, anyone can monitor the nitrogen dioxide concentrations at any place from anywhere in the world using the ESA’s new online platform that allows people to track air pollution, whether on a global scale or for their particular regions or cities.
Experts estimate that 600,000 children died in 2016 as a result of air pollution. 1.8 billion children are exposed to air that is so polluted that it seriously jeopardises their health and development.
Air pollution is the most significant environmental health risk in Europe, according to the European Environment Agency. It caused about 400,000 premature deaths in the EU in 2016, the EU agency estimates. And those living in polluted, big cities are more at risk from COVID-19, EPHA has warned.
Yet only 13 percent of Brits believe air pollution to be “a very big problem”, according to a YouGov poll.
As levels of air pollution plummeted when countries imposed pandemic lockdown measures, it is evident that it is in our hands to improve the air we breathe. With combined efforts, like those proposed in the European Green Deal initiative, we can make a change.
“We really need to make sure that the air we are breathing is good. Water – doable; soils – doable; air – not so much. I really don’t know how we fix air. Maybe we can’t. Maybe we have to learn to live with the air that we’ve got. But let’s not do more to it than we have already done.”
GEG’s ethos is respecting the sanctity of the natural world and our place in it. Through innovations like Ennea, the Harvester and ESOL™ solutions, GEG’s Research and Development paves the way towards improving current industry practices by meeting complex environmental challenges like air pollution.
P.S.: Owen’s got one more suggestion…
Together we can act #ForNature
One easy way → take your bicycle more often and ride for nature… #Nature #NatureNow #NatureLove #GEG #BicycleWaltz #WorldEnvironmentDay https://t.co/NwLry1XVse
— Global Ecology Group (@gegecology) June 5, 2020