ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS of the COVID-19 lockdown- a statistical analysis

The image above is satellite imagery of the air pollution levels in China, the virus’s origin, in 2019, left, vs 2020, right. Photograph: Guardian Visuals / ESA satellite data.


The novel Coronavirus pandemic has made the headlines of practically every media news story, every day, for the past 6 months so far. Schools have been shut down, restaurants are closed, and millions are out of work, a truly unprecedented national emergency has struck the US- and the globe.

But can we, somehow, find anything beneficial to result from this raging pandemic?

Interestingly, the Valley Torah Environmental Awareness Club finds the answer to be yes. 

Satellite imagery from the ESA (European Space Agency) shows an extremely dramatic decrease in global carbon emissions and air pollution not seen in years. The pandemic’s curtailment of industrial activity has caused a reduction of industrial emissions globally, something that would be extremely difficult to achieve if not for the life and death threat of the pandemic. Satellite imagery shows that over the past months, levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) over both large cities and industrial areas throughout Asia, the Americas, and Europe are remarkably lower than what they were during the same time last year. 

Industrial processes, like running a car or operating a power plant, produce Nitrogen dioxide into the atmosphere. Once released, the NO2 gas subsequently pollutes the air and is, in effect, responsible for a large portion of the world’s carbon emissions- something that has direct results in global warming. 

As a result of the pandemic, however, big industries have been forced to shut down and millions across the world have ceased going to public places, including work, school, and public events. The sharp decline of cars on the roads coupled with the restrictions on big industries results in an atmosphere with noticeably less carbon emission. The results of this can range from breathing cleaner and safer air outside to the decrease in detriment occurring in the ozone layer. (An occurrence with direct links to climate change.)

Ecologists have had the rare opportunity to experience a worldwide natural experiment where we would be able to see direct results of what global pollution levels would look like if we were to dramatically decrease our carbon emissions. – And the looks are promising. 

**All the data and research reported in this article was investigated and analyzed by Valley Torah Environmental Awareness Club.  

-President of the E.A. Club: David Kerendian

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