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Tesla and Other EVs’ Positive Effects Shown In Air Pollution Maps During Pandemic

by Ma. Claribelle Deveza April 03, 2020

Tesla-EV-Air-Pollution-Prevention

The promising effects of Tesla and other EVs have been illustrated in air pollution maps gathered by various agencies and organizations around the world during the current pandemic.

Tesla enthusiast @SamTalksTesla argued that recent air quality reports and findings might be irrefutable evidence that ICE-reliant transportation systems are the cause of a significant amount of air pollution around the globe. “There are so many powerful forces out there who are constantly denying that transport is a real problem, quoting low % of pollution attributed to it. We’ve never been able to test the theory until now, and now we have it, it puts it beyond any doubt,” he wrote on Twitter. 

Air Pollution and Human Health

Based on multiple reports and findings written by experts on the matter, both carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels have noticeably dropped since governments have placed various parts of their countries on lockdown. Most of the research suggests that the reduction of ICE vehicles on roads, as well as the shut down of coal-powered power plants and industries, have contributed to the decreasing levels of carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide. 

Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that contributes directly to climate change. Nitrogen dioxide, on the other hand, is an indirect contributor that has some severe side effects on human health. Air pollutants, in general, has been linked to various illnesses, including cardiovascular disease, asthma, and lung cancer, reported Medical News Today.

Carbon dioxide, Nitrogen dioxide, and other air pollutants may also be a vehicle for pathogens to spread, like the virus that is current plaguing the world. In fact, the World Health Organization is currently investigating the role that NO2 might have played in the current global crisis. Scientists have long suspected that air pollution could contribute to the spread of viral infection as shown in studies, like "Effect of Nitrogen Dioxide on Respiratory Viral Infection in Airway Epithelial Cells" and "The short-term effects of air pollutants on influenza-like illness in Jinan, China."

The Pandemic's Effect On Global Air Pollution

Global News wrote about the drop in CO2 levels in China and New York since the virus caused lockdowns to take place. According to Lauri Myllyvirta—the lead analyst at the Centre of Research on Energy and Clean Air—there was a 25 percent decrease in CO2 levels in China since lockdowns compared to the same time the previous year. 

Nitrogen-dioxide-Levels-China-pandemic

Myllyvirta also shared that particulate matter (PM2.5) and NO2 levels dropped after China started lockdowns. The European Space Agency shared some satellite images of the reduction of NO2 in China’s atmosphere, reported the Guardian. There was a notable difference in NO2 levels before and after China started lockdowns. 

Meanwhile, in New York, the same phenomenon was recorded. “It was quite surprising to see how much CO2 dropped,” said Róisín Commane, an assistant professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University in New York. She also noted that there was a significant reduction in carbon monoxide (CO) levels as well. 

China and New York aren’t the only places seeing a decrease in CO2, NO2, and other air pollutants. Similar research was conducted on the air quality in Italy, Spain, and other countries in Europe and many scientists have reported similar results. 

NO2-levels-pandemic

Credit: European Space Agency

Temporary vs Permanent Change

Scientists and climate change advocates have wasted no time in studying the cause of the sudden drop in air pollution. ICE transportation seems to rank high on their lists, given that majority of coal plants are still active because people still need power in their homes. Quite a few factories are still working as well, specifically for companies that have been deemed essential businesses. 

Satellite images of countries around the globe have revealed the positive effects that reduced emissions can have on the world. But some scientists have warned that the temporary drop in emissions will not change the long term outcome of climate change.

Because of the current pandemic, people have the rare chance to view a different world, specifically one with significantly fewer ICE vehicles, traffic congestion, noise pollution, and cleaner air. Scientists believe this time has provided the world a massive testing ground. 

The results and lessons people learn from this test could make or break the dismal effects of climate change. Scientists believe the drop in air pollution is temporary and has not derailed the future of climate change. They also think that now is the time to act and change the course of history.

Featured Image Credit: @SamTalksTesla/Twitter




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