The air has become much pure and pollution-free in the larger town in Greater Manchester, Wigan.
According to recent data published by Defra (Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), the ratio of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) reduced in the air last year than in 2019. Nitrogen dioxide is one of the great factors responsible for air pollution. The air pollutants might lead to allergies, skin diseases, respiratory diseases, damaging food crops, affecting the natural environment, and even cause death.
As per an exclusive analysis conducted by JPIMedia, the pollutants in Wigan’s air were much less than that of the previous year. The country’s biggest air pollution monitoring station, note down the reading of the presence of NO2 in the atmosphere for 34 weeks. And the data shows that the percentage of the pollutants was lower than the 2019’s record for the same equivalent week.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic has started, a considerable amount of decrease in the level of air pollution has been noted. According to a study by NASA scientists, the pandemic lockdown has changed human activity in many ways. They have used a computer-based model to compare the changes in humans that have occurred due to the pandemic situation and how it would have been different in a pandemic-free year.
The researchers also notice a reduction in the global emission of nitrogen dioxide air pollutants. The burning of fossil fuels, especially in transports and industries, emit a large part of NO2 pollutants. And both the activities were reduced and nearly stopped during the pandemic shutdown. The researchers have noted a reduction of 20% in nitrogen dioxide globally.
The records were shown at the virtual event of ‘’International Conference for High-Performance Computing, Networking, Storage, and Analysis’’ which was held from 16 November 2020 to 19 November 2020.
The first shutdown has a major effect on air quality. The Automatic Urban and Rural Monitoring Network (AURN) has recorded a considerable drop in nitrogen oxide level every week during spring 2020.
When the government again called out lockdown in autumn, the air quality index was polluted than that of summer but yet much lower than the previous year’s record. The air quality has shown an incredible improvement during the second lockdown with a reduction of 50 percent air pollutants.
However, scientists have found a similar rate in the pollutants’ ratio and an increase in vehicles’ use. They have recorded that in both years, the emission of NO2 raised during winter. Alongside Wigan, other cities, including Milan, Wuhan, and New York, reported a reduction in nitrogen dioxide emission. As the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions lessened, air pollution started to increase but remained lower than the previous years.
The Director of the environment at Wigan Council, Paul Barton, shared that the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the benefits the humankind might get by making small changes in their day to day lives. Since climate change is one of the serious emergencies right now, and the Earth is continuously getting warmer due to pollution and global warming. People can apply small positive changes like driving less and switch off the engine during red lights to directly reduce the NO2 emission.
Environmentalists are highly concerned about the severe climatic changes and the worse condition of the atmosphere. They predict that if the pollution kept increasing at this rate, the planet would become inhabitable to live in the future. Hopefully, the last year has taught a lesson and made people more aware of the atmospheric condition.