While the world copes with COVID-19, we take a moment to share some environment changes that are taking place on our planet.
The ancient city of Venice has transformed almost overnight; under sunny blue skies, a look down into the waters of the canals is a surprising sight, you see a clear view of the sandy bed, seabirds, seaweed, shoals of tiny fish, scuttling crabs and colourful plant-life. The water is blue, clear and calm like a pond, the ducks are happily making nests and laying eggs.
New York’s air is also cleaner; it’s the cleanest residents have seen for years. Researchers have found that there has been a 5 to 10% drop in air pollutants like carbon dioxide and methane emissions have also dropped significantly.
China, is experiencing a remarkable transformation. The bright, blue smog-free skies are a sight not seen in years. Researchers are reporting reductions in air pollution with ‘good quality air days’ increasing by 21.5% in February. Satellite images show a dramatic reduction in nitrogen dioxide emissions released by vehicles, power plants and industrial facilities. There is a marked drop in coal consumption; major coal-fired power stations saw a 36% drop in consumption between February and March.
Around the world, seismologists are observing a lot less ambient seismic noise, this means less vibrations generated by cars, trains, buses and people going about their daily lives. In the absence of that noise, earth’s upper crust is moving a little less.
Brussels is seeing about a 30% to 50% reduction in ambient seismic noise since middle March, the time the country started implementing school and business closures and other social distancing measures, the level is on par with what is seen on Christmas Day.
The noise in West London has been affected, showing a decline of noise in the period after schools and social venues in the United Kingdom closed and again after a government lockdown was announced. This indicates evidence that people are listening to authorities’ warnings to stay inside and minimize outside activity as much as possible; everyone is respecting the rules.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the surreal slowdown of life as we know it has presented researchers and scientists with a rare opportunity to study the modern world under bizarre conditions.
In agreement, from around the world researchers agree on four points; there’s less rumbling on the surface of the earth, there’s less air pollution, city soundscapes are changing and the oceans are quitter too.
Like most species, we agree that less pollution is a real welcome!