COVID-19 consequences: Reduced air pollution, less waste, fresh insights

By Matthew Guida, Capital Current, April 12, 2020

More than 20 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported globally to date. There is no overstating of the scope of the pandemic tragedy for humanity.

However, it is also important to recognize that it has resulted in some unexpected environmental benefits — especially when it comes to air pollution and waste management. 

The World Health Organization estimates that there are more than six million deaths annually because of outdoor and indoor air pollution. According to the 2019 report on the State of Global Air, air pollution contributed to the loss of 147 million years of healthy life in 2017 alone.

By obeying stay-at-home directives during the pandemic, people in Canada and beyond have contributed to the reduction of pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide, as well as particulate matter in major cities, including Toronto, Montreal and Calgary, which have experienced reductions in nitrogen dioxide levels of between 30 and 40 per cent.

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