Air pollution in China drops

Jadyn Heil, Reporter

      In China, one of the most urbanized and populous countries in the world, air pollution is responsible for more than a million deaths each year. However, according to NASA, levels of nitrogen dioxide have decreased as much as 30% in the last month. Nitrogen dioxide is an air pollutant that mainly originates from fossil fuel emissions, so it’s possible that recent events from the COVID-19 outbreak could partially be responsible for this decrease in pollution. With many industries and power plants shutting down due to the virus, and fewer people driving cars, less pollution is emitted, giving some areas the clearest skies they’ve seen in a while. Carbon emissions have also dropped since the outbreak, and as China is the world’s leading emitter of greenhouse gases, this could, according to some researchers, have potential benefits for our planet. Although the drop in air pollution will undoubtedly have positive effects on people’s health, there are still long term effects from the outbreak itself that are important to take into account, such as the mental stress that so many people are going through during this time. But despite the craziness, we can at least choose to look at things through a positive light and appreciate the clear skies in China.