Coronavirus saved 11,000 lives in Europe in one month as lockdowns massively cut air pollution, scientists say – The Sun

MORE 11,000 deaths in Europe have been avoided in the past month because of better air quality caused by the coronavirus lockdown, according to a study.

Sharp drops in road traffic and industrial emissions have led to 1.3m fewer days off work, 6,000 fewer kids developing asthma, 1,900 less emergency hospital visits and 600 fewer preterm births, research on the health effects of Covid-19 has found. 

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The Finland-based Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) report says levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) — produced by road traffic and heavy industry — have dropped by some 40 per cent in the past 30 days.

The study also found a 10 per cent reduction in the average level of particulate matter pollution across Europe.

These decreases had resulted in an estimated 11,000 avoided deaths related to air pollution across Europe, including approximately 1,752 in the UK — the second-highest number in the study behind Germany (2,083).

CREA researchers said there had been a 37 per cent drop in power generation from coal across Europe as a result of the lockdowns, while oil consumption had fallen by some 33 per cent.

Reduced coal and oil burning are a striking demonstration of the benefit to public health and quality of life if European decision-makers prioritise clean air


The study's authors Lauri Myllyvirta and Hubert Thieriot said their analysis used detailed air quality statistical modelling to separate the effects of weather conditions and changes in emissions.

the researchers wrote.:"The Covid-19 crisis has brought about untold human suffering, and its side-effects should not be celebrated,"

"The major public health benefits of reduced coal and oil burning, over just one month are, however, a striking demonstration of the benefit to public health and quality of life if European decision-makers prioritise clean air, clean energy and clean transport in their plans to recover from the crisis, and reduce coal and oil consumption in a rapid and sustainable way."

The countries with the largest reductions in NO2 pollution levels were Portugal, Spain, Norway, Croatia, France, Italy and Finland. 

The largest reductions in particulate matter pollution took place in Portugal, Greece, Norway, Sweden, Poland, Finland and Spain.

Coal power plants in Britain have not been generating power for more than two weeks, the study said.

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