NASA Photos Show That COVID-19 Shutdowns Have Led To Less Pollution In China

"This is the first time I have seen such a dramatic drop-off over such a wide area for a specific event."

Cover image via Joshua Stevens/NASA

China's air pollution has significantly decreased as shown by satellite images from NASA and European Space Agency

CNN reported that the drop was most visible over Wuhan, but eventually spread across the country.

Following the COVID-19 outbreak, many factories and power plants have been closed, and transportation has been restricted.

NASA revealed that the decrease is "at least partly" due to the shutdown of factories amidst the virus

"This is the first time I have seen such a dramatic drop-off over such a wide area for a specific event," said Fei Liu, an air quality researcher at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

NASA compared the first two months of 2019 to the same period this year - and it showed a large difference.

Pollutant levels did not increase as it did back in 2019 after Chinese New Year.

Image via Joshua Stevens/NASA

Pollution generally decreases during Chinese New Year when businesses and factories close for the holidays and usually appears again after they reopen

However, according to NASA, Liu and her colleagues revealed that they have not seen any increase in nitrogen dioxide even after the holidays.

Nitrogen dioxide is the gas that emits from vehicles, power plants, and industrial facilities.

"This year, the reduction rate is more significant than in past years and it has lasted longer," she said, adding that many cities nationwide have taken measures to minimise the spread of the virus.

Since the outbreak began in December 2019, around 88,400 people have been infected by the virus worldwide

According to CNN, 3,057 victims have passed away, and 45,160 patients have recovered as of today, 2 March.

The outbreak has reached every continent, except for Antarctica.

The Ministry of Health recently confirmed four new COVID-19 cases:

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