Coronavirus: 200 million tonnes less emissions and 75,000 lives saved
Abandoned streets, empty beaches and popular tourist spots, stopped businesses, public transport, ground planes, ships in ports, cars are mostly in garages. The new coronavirus has stopped the world, and in this situation it is quite difficult to find winners. But they are.
"The new coronavirus has saved twenty times more lives in China than it took," Marshall Burke of Stanford University says of the outbreak. He is convinced that the major disruption caused by the virus in Chinese economic activity, resulting in a significant reduction in air pollution in China, saved 50,000 to 75,000 people from premature death due to dirty air breathing.
The connection between polluted air and premature death has been well researched; over the past three decades, a total of 652 cities have been analyzed on all continents, and found that the more people are dying, the more polluted the air is. The World Health Organization estimates that about seven million people die each year from exposure to dirty air.
According to CNN, Burke focused on reducing the amount of PM2.5 particles in the air in his analysis to determine the number of "lives saved". These are very small but very dangerous particles that anchor deep into the lungs and then travel to the bloodstream. They have a particular impact on the mortality of children under the age of five and adults over the age of 70.
For the past weeks and days, NASA and ESA have been providing snapshots of their satellites, showing how much activity on the planet has declined after there were businesses, when traffic was out, and people were mostly in their homes - and as a result, pollution was reduced . In the Chinese province of Hubei, which was hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak, they were listed in February for a fifth of days spent in "good air" in the area than a year earlier. "We saw such a dramatic drop in concentrations for the first time," says Fei Liu of Nasa.
CREA researchers estimate that in just a short period of limited economic activity, China has sent about 200 million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the air less than it would have otherwise. Similar is happening everywhere else where communities stop to fight the new coronavirus. ESA has released similar footage for Italy.