The coronavirus stopped Italy and (perhaps) also contributed to reducing pollution in the northern regions. The satellites of the European Space Agency noticed and showed the huge difference. But not only Covid-19's “merit”.
The images captured by Sentinel-5 of the Copernicus European program, managed by the European Commission and the European Space Agency, showed a sharp drop in nitrogen dioxide levels, a marker of pollution.
Even to the eye of those who are not experts the situation is immediately clear. Comparing the photos of February 14, February 24, March 4 and March 8, it is immediately noticeable that the dark red color which is equivalent to the areas where the concentration of pollutants is greater, decreases during the course of February to decrease considerably in March.
The photos are clear. Santiago Gassò, from the University of Washington and NASA published them on Twitter. Tropomi sensors (Tropospheric Monitoring Instrument) installed on Sentinel-5 have detected the reduction of the red cloud of nitrogen dioxide, the harmful gas emitted by fossil fuels, produced mainly by motor vehicles and industries.
It's not a casuality. The dates compared are significant: on February 14 there was still no quarantine. On February 21, however, the first containment measures were taken in the regions of the Po area starting from Codogno. On March 9 they took off all over Italy, followed by the so-called phase 2, introduced on March 12 in which the block was extended to most of the production activities.
It is also about the weather conditions
In fact, favorable climatic conditions also contribute to reducing smog and fine dust from the northern regions. Last week, in fact, the presence of intense rain cleaned the air by dragging the fine dust, nitrogen oxides and ammonia onto the ground. Then the wind came to disperse these contaminants.
Italy like China
Also common in this. With due differences, China has also experienced a sharp drop in pollutants in the atmosphere. In fact, at the beginning of March, nitrogen dioxide levels dropped by 30%, as shown by NASA and ESA images.
Closed schools, entire paralyzed countries and the obligation to stay at home have paid off. On the one hand, Italy mourns those who are no longer there and huddles around the health personnel who work tirelessly to help the patients, on the other hand, hopes that the coronavirus emergency can come back as soon as possible.
And when we finally return to the street, when the coronavirus is just a bad memory, spring and the air will be a little cleaner.