NASA says travel restrictions and the closure of businesses contributed to the drop in nitrogen dioxide.
Satellite images from the US space agency have shown a significant drop in pollution over China amidst the unprecedented quarantine as a result of the novel coronavirus that began in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
NASA claims there has been a significant decrease in nitrogen dioxide (NO2) – a noxious gas emitted by motor vehicles, power plants and industrial facilities – due to the economic slowdown following the outbreak.
The reduction in air pollution was first apparent near Wuhan, but eventually spread across the wholw country, NASA scientists say.
Images coming out of some of China’s biggest cities show completely empty city streets in areas that are typically bustling with activity.
“This is the first time I have seen such a dramatic drop-off over such a wide area for a specific event,” said Fei Liu, an air quality researcher at NASA.
Paradoxically, the coronavirus can also save lives.