UN: World saw sharp drop in air pollution amid COVID-19 lockdowns

UN: World saw sharp drop in air pollution amid COVID-19 lockdowns
© istock

The world experienced a sharp drop in air pollution in the last year as a result of lockdowns and travel restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the United Nations weather agency.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) noted the decline in its first air quality and climate bulletin, which was released on Friday, The Associated Press reported.

Urban areas reportedly experienced the most noticeable reduction in pollution, though the WMO noted that pollution levels varied in other parts of the world.

ADVERTISEMENT

Pollution levels in some places surged past air quality guidelines and higher levels of some pollutants were also recorded, according to the AP.

Average levels of nitrous oxide dropped by nearly 70 percent while most of the world experienced lockdowns last year compared to averages recorded from 2015 through 2019. Ozone levels reportedly remained steady or increased.

WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas called for more action to be taken to combat climate change, the AP noted.

“A pandemic is not a substitute for sustained and systematic action to tackle major drivers of both population and climate change and so safeguard the health of both people and planet,” Taalas said.