The shelter-in-place orders around the world have generated cleaner air and water in the world’s formerly polluted cities. From New Delhi to Beijing, Paris, Bangkok, São Paulo, Bogota, Phoenix, and Los Angeles, among others, residents have reported cleaner air and water since the coronavirus lockdown was activated everywhere.
Analysts and environmental experts said this development is one of the positive effects of COVID-19 lockdown around the world; and despite the economic hardships attending the shutdown, many people in major cities are happy that they could breathe fresh air and look up to a clear, blue sky in decades.
“The blissful sight of blue skies and the joy of breathing clean air provides just the contrast to illustrate what we are doing to ourselves the rest of the time,” Dr. Shashi Tharoor, a Delhi politician and environmentalist, said. “Today the typical Delhi AQI hovers around 30 and one blissful afternoon, after a spurt of rain, it dropped to seven.”
Tharoor said the improved air quality is an eye-opener to the fact that human beings are guilty of causing massive pollution and degradation to our world. Gaseous emissions from factories exhausts from cars, bush burning, and other human activities in polluting rivers are some of the causes of environmental pollution in cities, with resultant effects on human health and the ozone layer.
Some of these activities have also caused global warming and environmental disasters such as flooding and hurricanes.
Scientists said the current good air quality in Los Angeles is the longest and best the city has experienced since 1995, and the current blue skies in New Delhi is a rarity as far as many residents are concerned. In New Delhi, the Air Quality Index was 160 in March 2019, but it is 45 in March this year.
While coronavirus continues to ravage many cities around the world, environmentalists said staying at home has been very helpful for the cities since there are less cars plying the roads. They also said the lockdown should be celebrated for facilitating cleaner outdoor air, cleaner water, and a healthier environmental health.