Pollution maps of major cities before and during the coronavirus pandemic

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/04/14/pollution-maps-of-major-cities.html


Is it being offset by burning cell towers?

I also wonder how quickly it’ll ramp back up once things “return to normal”.


Wow, Milan.


Curious what Mexico City looks like. But yeah, holy cow at Milan.

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per Nitrogen Dioxide measurements

Just because it’s pandemic is no reason to start randomly capitalizing chemicals.


The Prague maps are also fascinating. Poet, dissident, and President Vaclav Havel, who saw Czechoslovakia through its transition to democratic rule as the Czech Republic, was given one of UCLA’s highest honors and delivered a keynote speech. Instead of talking about being jailed, the KGB or how to take a nation through a peaceful transition, he spoke entirely about the environment and the pollution caused by unchecked industry, and how you must pay attention to those lobbying in their own interest to pollute over the interest of the citizens not to be polluted. This was circa 1990.


Milan looks worse than Delhi right now, but remember Delhi is in its “moderate” phase. Later in the year Delhi has been making Beijing look good.

Air quality index of Delhi is generally Moderate (101–200) level between January to September, and then it drastically deteriorates to Very Poor (301–400), Severe (401–500) or Hazardous (500+) levels during October to December

That might be the Congestion Charge zone, although the charge has been suspended because of the lockdown.

Pollution causes lifelong disability and death. A pandemic is worse.

I think we’re living off inventory and the capacity of our supply chain. I don’t think shutting down industry is viable as a long term solution to pollution (or global warming).

…and Milan only ranks #705 on the World’s Most Polluted Cities, which is scary.

According to that site, Milan is very polluted in January and February but moderates in March. The charts in the post are from March of last year, when the pollution site says Milan should have looked fairly reasonable–its data is from 2019 as well.

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it’s okay. i heard that these reductions don’t even meet the amount we need to stem off the worst of global warming.

the trucks and ships and power plants running are still reliant on fossil fuel. unless we change that, it’s not enough.

the “green new deal” is really best way forward. spend lots to get people working good jobs ( which many didn’t have even before the pandemic ) while transitioning away from fossil fuels and fixing up our infrastructure.

one similarity: if we act quickly, we can bend the curve and mitigate the long term damage. ( even if we can’t stop the damage and deaths completely )

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A U.N. report published in November found that emissions would have to start falling by an average of 7.6% per year to give the world a viable chance of limiting the rise in average global temperatures to 1.5C

Rob Jackson, who chairs the Global Carbon Project, which produces widely-watched annual emissions estimates, said carbon output could fall by more than 5% year-on-year — the first dip since a 1.4% reduction after the 2008 financial crisis.

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AFAIK, air pollution effects depend heavily on the weather situation, like, e.g, wind direktion, so comparing the same period of days of this to last year will not paint an accurate picture if the weather situation is markedly different. That’s why in studies that try to evaluate measures against air pollution (like low emission zones) measurements of pollutants need to be adjusted for weather variables (example).

So this is quite interesting, but might not paint the full picture.

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I can hardly wait until the governments say we are to resume polluting as usual to get things back to normal.

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