Startling satellite images released by the European Environmental Bureau (EEA) show how air pollution has quickly returned to China as they ease their coronavirus lockdown and people return to work.
Timelapse videos reveal how levels of pollution dropped dramatically during January and February but as tough lockdown restrictions have been eased, levels have almost returned back to pre-coronavirus levels in major cities such as Beijing, Hong Kong, and Wuhan, where the pandemic began.
The images come from the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Sentinel 5P satellite, which continuously monitors nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels on earth.
EEB air policy officer Margherita Tolotto said: ‘During this pandemic, what happens in China has often been a window into what happens elsewhere some time later. Breathing toxic air compromises our health and makes us more vulnerable to health threats.
‘Our governments and the European Commission must prevent harmful air pollution from returning and develop exit strategies which avoid taking us back to a dirty future.’
Thanks to James Poetzcher, the ESA and the EEB for providing the following timelapse videos from Beijing, Hong Kong, China and Wuhan.