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China’s Air Quality Benefits From Quarantine

Air pollution in China dropped dramatically over the course of February as the country responded to the coronavirus outbreak by shutting down infrastructure, satellite imagery from NASA and the European Space Agency shows.

China responded to the outbreak of coronavirus in the country with a series of quarantines and lockdowns. This consequently limited the amount of energy the country has needed and has led to a corresponding fall in nitrogen levels as it burns less coal, and transport levels decreased.


The map shows the concentration of nitrogen dioxide – gas produced by motor vehicles, power plants, and industrial facilities – in China.

A drop in nitrogen dioxide levels is normally associated with the Lunar New Year celebrations in China and across Asia. However, in 2020 the levels have not risen after the celebrations concluded as they normally do.

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