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6 Ways the Coronavirus Has Positively Affected the Environment

Covid-19 is causing global trade to be disrupted, flights to be cancelled and forcing people to work from home. However, even though life has changed beyond recognition now, it is also seen to be having some positive effects on the environment. Here are a few ways coronavirus has affected the environment.

The environment is benefiting in some interesting and unexpected ways over the last few months.

1. Air pollution has dropped significantly in China

One of the main impacts of the coronavirus outbreak has been a significant drop in air pollution in many parts of the world. Most notably seen in developed, or developing, industrial nations like China and in Europe, the drop shows just how much industrial activity has been shut down as of late.

Nitrogen dioxide is mainly produced by car engines, power plants, and other industrial processes, it is believed to be the cause for a multitude of health problems, especially respiratory illnesses like asthma which is what the coronavirus attacks most.

2. The waters of Venice are clean again

Another unexpected effect on the environment from the coronavirus has been seen in Venice, Italy. With tourist numbers removed because of the virus, the waters in Venice's canals are cleaner than they have been in living memory. 

With things like motorboats effectively "grounded" and other water pollutants being dropped dramatically. In most areas of Venice, residents have been amazed by how clear the water has become and you can see the fish in the canals!

3. New York’s air is cleaner than ever

With many people around the world self-isolating voluntarily or by official edict, some major cities outside of China are also seeing their air quality improve, one example being New York.

Researchers have found that there has been a 5- to 10% drop in air pollutants like carbon dioxide in New York. Methane emissions have also dropped significantly.

Traffic levels are also significantly down, with some estimating in the region of 35%. Carbon monoxide emissions have also dropped by somewhere in the region of 50%.

4. Air pollution has plummeted due to planes being grounded

Another interesting effect on the environment has been a significant reduction in air travel. In places like Europe, air traffic has taken a serious nosedive.

This is significantly improving air quality and reducing pollution in the skies above many countries of the world. With fewer planes buzzing around, issues associated with contrails and exhaust emissions are easing. 

5. Emissions from coal combustion are falling in China

Yet another impact on the environment as a consequence of coronavirus is the marked drop in coal consumption. This has contributed, in no small part, to the drop in air pollutants in places like China.

Not only is this improving air quality in the regions affected, but it is reducing the number of airborne pollutants like carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and nitrous oxides.

China is well known for being huge producers and consumers of coal and it has seen up to a 30% drop in consumption while the coronavirus lockdown has been in place.

6. Domestic energy use is rising and commercial use is falling, reducing emissions

As more and more people are put under lock-down around the world, energy consumption profiles in buildings are being disrupted. With many people now working from home domestic energy consumption is predicted to have risen sharply.

This will ultimately save energy as the increase in domestic use is more than compensated by the larger drop in commercial and educational building uses. It also has the knock-on effect of reducing the consumption of polluting fuels in power stations as demand fall.

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