Is Covid-19, the catalyst to become more aware of the air pollution crisis?

It’s been a huge topic the fact that air quality in cities has improved dramatically since the lockdown began. Huge coverage from media all around the world. Most surprisingly, I get emails from people telling me that now they are able to see in much further distances on the horizon and the air smells clean as the air pollutants are not present in the atmosphere and I quote below a couple of the emails.

I thought of you this morning….with everyone staying home the pollution has almost went away…the air smells so good… (Texas, USA)

…it is amazing now we can see clearly the horizon from my house… (Los Angeles, USA)

With many examples like here in Madrid, air pollution falls 56% in the second half of March. In London, there is 28μg/m3 less NO2 in the atmosphere and in Edinburgh a whopping 37% decrease of NO2.

Which leads me to the conclusion that now people are more aware of the air pollution than before covid-19. People were used to living in polluted environments & didn’t understand the difference. If your whole life you live in an area where the AQ is poor you don’t expect more, you just take it as it is and unfortunately, without complaining. Most of the times you can’t even do anything as it doesn’t depend on you, some simple examples are when a neighbour is burning wood and when you leave near a busy road.

The other day I was asked what can we do to educate older generations about the issue. It is complicated because once you finish your studies and you start working or searching for a job, your mind is occupied with the need to support you and your family economically and you don’t care about the environment. A healthy and stable economy is a key ingredient to make everyone aware of our responsibility on this planet.

We need effective governance on long-term health and climate issues with the same willpower as are showing with this pandemic − covid-19.

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