Can something positive be a byproduct of something so dangerous and deadly? Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health asked that very question…What if clean air benefits during COVID-19 shutdown continued post-pandemic?
As I sit here writing this blog from my living room, with pessimistic attitudes towards my countries ability to rise to any degree of productive dialog and action there is some enlightening news for the world…born out of the covid-19 pandemic.
Columbia’s study focuses on the city of New York and sustained emission decreases over five years. Looking at the spring 2020 COVID-19 shutdown they estimate “cumulative benefits of clean air during this period would amount to thousands of avoided cases of illness and death in children and adults, as well as associated economic benefits between $32 to $77 billion. The study's findings are published in the journal Environmental Research.” That’s incredible! Let that sink in for minute. Imagine the health care costs that would NOT be concerning to so many people world-wide and the associated economic benefits too!
According to NASA, The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, “ground-based observations have shown that Earth’s atmosphere has seen significant reductions in some air pollutants.” Has our change in behaviors and business operations and manufacturing made a significant change to the worlds air quality, is it a sign from nature? Scientists are asking is the decline in pollutants due to human change in activity because of the pandemic and would it have happened if there was no 2020 pandemic?
NASA researchers found that in 2020, “since February, pandemic restrictions have reduced global nitrogen dioxide concentrations by nearly 20%. The results were presented at the 2020 International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage, and Analysis.”
“We all knew the lock-downs were going to have an impact on air quality,” said lead author Christoph Keller with Universities Space Research Association (USRA) at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. He says, “it was also soon clear that it was going to be difficult to quantify how much of that change is related to the lock-down measures, versus general seasonality or variability in pollution.”
So can these changes be sustained in some form or another? Will the human race open their eyes to not only the environmental implications which set off the Covid-19 pandemic but also to recognize the benefits to the quality of air if certain measures are continued, along with current expectations and policy changes around the world? I certainly hope so…
The World Health Organization estimates, “air pollution causes around seven million premature deaths every year, largely as a result of increased mortality from stroke, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer and acute respiratory infections.” They have also said that “emerging evidence…shows the fatality rate from coronavirus is higher in polluted places, where people’s lung capacity is reduced from years of exposure to toxic air.
I for one see a great need for the sustained existence of our species to take heed to these facts and understand that in order to continue we will have to change the paradigm with which we are accustomed. To see such positive change in the one article that provides all living things with purpose and ability rising from such destruction and death…never in my lifetime could I have imagined. Cleaner air because of a pandemic. Yes.
#cleanair #nasa #covid19 #planetearth #science #who