Get Down with the Sickness

Image Source: Wikimedia

Marc Randy
Science & Tech Editor

As we are all already sick of the Covid-19 outbreak (pun very much intended), it is nice to take a look at the few silver linings these sickly clouds have. One of them is a surprising, but not altogether unexpected, decrease in global pollution.

With the rapid spread of the coronavirus around the world, countries have been engaging in quarantine measures, and all but shutting down their economy in order to stop the virus from propagating. China is an obvious example of this, as the virus originated there in Wuhan, and so is Italy. These two countries are particularly interesting due to the fact that both of them have seen significant decreases in pollution.

On March 16th, Global News reported that the Venice canal in Italy had run clear in the first time since post-war times according to La Nuova di Venezia e Mestre, a local newspaper. The absence of gondolas and cruise ships in the Venetian canal had caused the water to not have pollutants dumped into it, making it run clear. Satellite images from China have shown a drastic decrease in air pollution due to the strict lockdown procedures put into place by its government. Air quality has also increased in both China and Italy due to a steep decrease in vehicular activity because of the enforced lockdown.

If there is one thing to be learned from this, it’s the possibility governments have to put a stop to pollution. If a global pandemic shows governments are able to meaningfully impact pollution levels, then there may be a way to limit pollution the absence of a global crisis.  

Originally Published on Vol.49 Issue 12 on April 1st, 2020