Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, air pollution has been one of the major environmental problems. Though the lockdown has reduced industrial activities across the globe, some countries are still industrially active, which makes air pollution levels higher. Here are the countries that have recorded a significant drop in the level of pollution during the lockdown.
Denmark is one of the few nations that have seen low levels of pollution during the lockdown. The largest cities in the country, such as Aalborg, Copenhagen, Odense, and Aarhus, have the lowest emissions levels.
This is because there are strict regulations imposed on vehicles around the city center. In Copenhagen, more than half of the population use bikes to commute to work. This is because the government has made an effort to ensure safer cycling to reduce air pollution in the country.
According to figures released in March by the government, the level of pollution has reduced drastically in the four biggest cities during the lockdown. This makes Denmark one of the safest places to visit once the travel restrictions have been lifted.
Malta is one of the countries that have put strict regulations to ensure that the rate of pollution is checked. It has managed to control pollution from cars and power plants. Though the country still has its struggles, it has recorded an impressive improvement, especially during the lockdown.
However, in 2018, it was reported that Malta had an alarming level of air pollution, and something needed to be done. Thankfully, the government managed to come up with policies that are working, and now, it is accurate to say that the country has a good level of clean air.
According to Dealchecker in Portugal, Porto, the coastal town is one of the cleanest, and the government has confirmed that it has the best air. The bodies responsible for the country’s environment started to take their work seriously, which is why Portugal has recorded an improvement in air quality during the COVID-19 lockdown.
For instance, between 2005 and 2013, the country recorded an 18% drop in air pollution levels. Also, during the lockdown, at least 609 potential deaths were avoided in Portugal due to reduced air pollution. However, the country still has some work to do since the level of pollution should still be kept under control.
Many harmful emissions in the US have reduced. The new cars are 99% cleaner than the initial once in terms of pollutants. Though President Donald Trumps tried to revitalize coal plants by bringing back environmental protections in the previous year, they closed down at a high rate. Due to lockdown, there has been a huge reduction in air pollution levels in many states, especially in LA. However, the level of pollution is still significantly high in industrial centers, which means more effort should be put in place.
In Ecuador’s capital, Quito, the government has ensured a Transit Oriented Development (TOD) strategy to maximize the amount of space in walking distance of public transport. This was put into place to prioritize social sustainability and environmental safety. This way, the public does not have a reason to use private vehicles. The fact that the country has been locked down during the pandemic has helped improve air quality.
Australia has strong environmental regulations that have helped to improve the quality of air in the country. Though there has been recent bushfire that contributed to increased air pollution in places such as Sidney, which is the largest city in terms of population, the air quality exceeded the hazardous levels in many points amid the fires, leading to at least 10% increase in hospital admissions. This made the authority to discourage individuals from exercising outdoors because they breathe in more during exercise. It is belied that during the lockdown, the country has recorded an increase in air quality.
The Bottom Line
Though lockdown has crippled the economic development of many countries, it has somehow contributed to improved air quality, especially in the countries mentioned. Therefore, if you were planning a trip to one of the healthiest nations with quality air, you might consider any of the ones mentioned above.