While early reports of dolphins swimming in Venice were proven false, the European Space Agency reports that air pollution dropped in three cities.Those who wish to find some kind of silver lining in the global coronavirus epidemic, which already claimed thousands of lives in Italy and Spain, point to the unexpected benefit of human industry halting to a near stop – allowing the earth some time to heal from the demands of humans.
Earlier reports of dolphins swimming in the Venice canals, for example, were proven false. The water is indeed clear now, but sadly no marine life returned to it.The Venice mayor’s office told CNN that quarantine had not resulted in cleaner water.
“The water now looks clearer because there is less traffic on the canals, allowing the sediment to stay at the bottom,” a spokesperson told CNN. “It’s because there is less boat traffic that usually brings sediment to the top of the water’s surface.”
However, the air quality in Venice has reportedly improved.
The European Space Agency (ESA) reports that air pollution from nitrogen dioxide has fallen by an estimated 40% in three European cities.
The space agency’s Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite mission on Friday released three composite images showing nitrogen dioxide concentrations in the period March 14-25 over France, Spain and Italy, compared to the monthly average of concentrations from 2019.“This is a first level estimate; some of these values have gone down by about 40% of the normal value… so a very drastic decrease,” Josef Aschbacher, ESA Director of Earth Observation Programmes, told Reuters via a video call.
“What you really see are the centers of this pollution… It is quite a good first level indicator of anthropogenic pollution coming from traffic and industry,” added Aschbacher.
Nitrogen dioxide, a noxious gas emitted by cars, power plants and factories, is blamed for some respiratory and heart conditions.
Almost every city-dwelling European is exposed to pollution levels that exceed healthy levels.
In Israel, various news reports claimed that wild life is benefiting from the lack of human presence in natural reservations.
Yet experts warn that not enough time had passed to allow animals, or nature for that matter, to change in any meaningful way on a massive scale due to the changes COVID-19 had forced on humanity.