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Trapped indoors one goes outside an hour a day to get some vitamin D and a breath of fresh air. A 30 minute drive across town has become a 20 minute drive. The skies seem more calming as the airplane noises seem to cease. 

Traffic on the freeway has been on a steady decline since states and local governments put regulations on communities that restricted social gatherings and caused many businesses to shut their doors. With nowhere to go and families obeying stay at home orders their cars are not being touched. From what became a routine of filling up the gas tank weekly now has half a tank lasting over three weeks.

Along with empty streets are quieter skies. With the United States being along the over 30 countries that have imposed travel bans due to covid-19 the number of flights has dropped drastically. According to live air traffic Flightradar24 and their daily traffic statistics, the cumulative effect of travel bans, stay at home orders and social distancing rules has seen the number of flights worldwide whittled by about 65%.

Air pollution of NorthEast U.S 2015 vs 2020, Image courtesy of NASA

According to CNN, the people of northern India were pleased with the display of the Himalayan mountains being visible from more than 100 miles away due to the reduced amount of air pollution because of the countrys’ lockdown.  

CNN journalist Rob Picheta also stated, “Indians in the city of Jalandhar and the surrounding area have posted photos online of the views from their homes, with some saying they haven’t seen the peaks of the Himalayas for decades.”

Countries in Europe have also seen decline in pollution. The European Environment Area (EEA) conducted their data and its results confirmed a large decrease in air pollution, up to half in some locations. Decreases in pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide(NO2) are due to reduced traffic..    

Italy, especially the city of Venice is known to have major tourism. As Italy began its travel bans popular tourist spots saw a big decline in human activity. Locals in those major areas have noticed some change that came along with it. CNN journalists Jack Guy and Valentina Di Donato wrote a story on the changes being noticed in Venice’s canal waters.

“Locals in Venice have noticed that the water in the city’s canals has become much clearer, with small fish visible swimming around.”

Scientists around the world are able to analyze the capability that humans are able to accomplish when it comes to helping the environment. It has shown that humans are capable of making adjustments that can have positive impacts on climate change. Although scientists believe this is only a short-term change, environmental leaders call for a long-term plan.


Ana Delgadillo is a staff writer for The Express. Follow her at @aaanakd.

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