Dolphins have returned to Venice, Los Angeles’ trademark haze is gone, deer are wandering Japanese cities, and traffic, especially along traditionally packed commuter corridors, has all but disappeared. Mother Nature is making the best of our collective nightmares as the self-isolation necessary to combat the coronavirus pandemic has observably reduced human pollution to historic levels. 

The viral outbreak began affecting the world’s pollution levels after a number of major cities and countries went on lockdown. China’s notoriously smog-filled municipalities, the first to be quarantined, saw an immediate clearing with the results visible from NASA’s Earth Observatory satellites. Italy’s country-wide lockdown has produced similar results as the normally jam-packed, bumper-to-bumper ancient streets lit up green like the Northern Lights. 

Like China, Italy’s mandatory quarantine cut was even observed by the European Space Agency‘s satellites, with the agency later sending out a statement saying, “New data from the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite reveal the decline of air pollution, specifically nitrogen dioxide emissions, over Italy. This reduction is particularly visible in northern Italy which coincides with its nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.” 

The statement added, “the reduction in emissions that we can see coincides with the lockdown in Italy causing less traffic and industrial activities.” ESA’s researchers also included the animation you see below showing the decreasing pollution.

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