The new coronavirus pandemic is decreasing the levels of air pollution. China's Ministry of Ecology and Environment released new data on air quality. The number of "good quality air days" increased by 21.5% in February compared to the same period last year.

China is the biggest source of air pollution in the world. It contributes 30% of the world's Co2 emissions annually. Reductions in air pollution have been recorded over northern Italy. Air pollution also fell sharply across China in the 4 weeks after 25 January when regions shut down in response to the outbreak.

The level of PM2.5 fell by 25% in China. PM2.5 is used to measure the level of dangerous small pollution particles.

Nitrogen dioxide dropped by 40%. Nitrogen dioxide emissions are largely driven by cars, power plants and industry. China used coal as a resource of its energy in 2018.

Recent satellite images show a dramatic decrease in air pollution. Mainly over quarantined areas like China and Italy. Satellite data showed a decline in nitrogen dioxide levels over China between January and February.

Similar images from Italy were shared by the European Space Agency (ESA). Italy reported the second-highest number of coronavirus cases after China. The reduction emissions coincide with the lockdown in Italy which caused less traffic and Industrial activity.

Hong Kong's air quality has also improved since the city entered a partial shut down. A 70% reduction in domestic flights, contributed to the fall in emissions.

Dirty air is known to cause lung and heart damage. It is responsible for at least 8 million early deaths a year. Respiratory infections such as coronavirus may have a more serious impact on people living in urban areas and those exposed to toxic fumes.

Scientists who analyzed the 2003 SARS coronavirus outbreak in China found that infected people who lived in areas with more air pollution were twice as likely to die as those in less polluted places.

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