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Pandemic pragmatics and Pollution

Table of Contents:

1.0 Introduction

2.0 China

3.0 India

4.0 Italy

5.0 U.K

6.0 Most popular debate of 2020

7.0 Conclusion



Life-threatening pandemic has shaken the year 2020 across the globe. Coming from China, this pandemic has spread in every nook and corner of the world leaving its horrifying footprints behind. Who knew that 2020 is going be a devastating era for so many people and so many would be quarantined in the four walls of their dwellings.

Ups and down have always been a part of life, but this downfall certainly has a long road till there is a bright light waiting at the end of the tunnel. What has been different after the lockdowns and quarantines? Fresher air to breathe? Certainly, there has been a drastic change in the quality of air and enormous reductions in carbon emissions.

Let’s take a look at some of the countries and how their air quality has changed with regards to the sluggish trade and people sitting at homes with fear of going out and catching the virus. The air quality has definitely undergone a significant change


China has been a nation that observed a lot of pandemics in the past too. Nitrogen dioxide is generated from power plants, car engines, industrial process and also emission from manufacturing units. But due to the ongoing coronavirus scenario, here has been a huge decline in the quantity of carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and other harmful gases after just a few weeks of the outbreak; especially in cities like Beijing. China has been a witness to extreme air pollution over the years due to emissions from manufacturing units, transportation and overpopulation. According to Nasa, eastern and central China has witnessed 10-30% lower nitrogen dioxide compared to the usual rate.

South Korea too has witnessed a rapid decline in NO2 levels after the lockdown due to coronavirus pandemic. The country never had a national lockdown but it has a lot of coal-fired powered plants that stopped their operations after the horrifying pandemic effects in China.




The second most populated country in the world ‘India’ is a country famous for its over-rising pollution especially in its metro cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. Metros in India are too overcrowded and the constant traffic has resulted in a lot of air and noise pollution. The national lockdown in the city of Delhi has seen a drastic 51% reduction in Nitrogen dioxide levels and 32% reduction in CO levels during the month of March. The reduction in air pollution is the result of –

  • 10% reduction in the industrial work
  • 15% reduction in the transport use

Emission levels in other cities seem high during the morning hours as people normally go out for their provisions in the daytime. The levels of pollution seem much low during the rest of the day and night due to the national lockdown.



Italy has witnessed the highest number of death rates during this pandemic and it is really scary. Italy is among one of the global fashion hubs of the world and also a divine homeland of art and architecture had a striking decline in the NO2 levels. Northern parts of Italy and especially Milan has seen a fall in NO2 levels by about 40%. The slowdown in Italy’s industrial process and other businesses and the reduction in road traffic have resulted in variations in emission levels.




U.K has been on par with countries like the U.S and China in the spread of the pandemic. The PM of U.K urged the residents to stop all the non-essential activities and stay at home instead. This has seen a vast decline in the levels of NO2 especially in the city like London which is always overcrowded with a number of businesses running and unending traffic on the roads.



Most popular debate of 2020

There have been tests carried out and it’s not shocking to see how there are researchers and scientists who believe in the horrifying effects of a pandemic due to pollution. Air pollution has intensified the pandemic and the recent study has pointed out the fact that minute pollutant particles- PM2.5 that has been inhaled for so many years by everyone significantly raise the chances of death from Covid-19. One microgram per cubic meter more PM2.5 in the air has 15% higher death rates due to Covid-19. Suffering from coronavirus and breathing the same polluted air affects the immune and respiratory systems thereby resulting in heart disease, asthma and death too.

Pollution has a deadly effect on the pandemic, but due to the strict guidelines followed by different nations like shutting down the non-essential businesses, slow down of usual activities, and decline in the traffic rates and also national lockdowns in the country like India, the CO2 and NO2 levels have gone down across the globe since March 2020. The affirmative part about this is that the reduction in air pollution could help flatten the curve of the pandemic. This could save a lot of lives, increase the mortality rate by reducing the deaths and thereby provide great assistance to the hospitals and health care professionals.

According to the research and calculations carried out by Marshall Burke, an Earth system scientist at Stanford University-The shutdown in China due to the corona virus has resulted in the huge dropdown in pollution saving approximately 77,000 lives which is a lot more than it should have actually impacted.

Air pollution normally kills more than 1, 00,000 Americans every year and it is very dangerous to see how this pandemic has seen the outcome in so many deaths in the U.S alone.


It’s indeed a good sign but definitely not the time to celebrate as the shutdowns and lockdowns are temporary and people are not going to be in their homes forever. The businesses and economies are seeing such a drop that it is difficult to put everything on hold for more than a few months now. Air pollution has gone down, skies have been clearer, there have been fewer activities that could affect the living creatures and marine life but these are not permanent solutions.

We need to come up with some strong everlasting measures like using bio gradable and recycled products, staying away from the burning and exhaustion of fossil fuels and carrying out more environment-friendly ideas in businesses, infrastructures, large and small scale industries and most importantly manufacturing units. After all, the health and safety of the world is dependent on the environment and the air that we breathe which undeniably needs to be less pollutant and more healthy.





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