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Covid restrictions provided unique real-world experiment with reduced air pollution

Big drop in NO2 produced biggest benefit, less significant drops seen in PM2.5 and PM10


Key points from article :

More than 800 lives may have been saved across Europe thanks to better air quality in the first phase of Covid lockdowns.

Fewer cars and lorries on roads had the biggest impact on reducing deaths.

Analysis of 47 European cities found Paris, London, Barcelona and Milan were among the top six with the highest number of avoided


Closing workplaces and schools in European cities reduced levels of air pollution through less traffic and movement

Led to less nitrogen dioxide (NO2) polluting the air - up to 60% reduction in some cities.

Smaller drop in levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10).

“This ‘natural experiment’ has given us a glimpse of how air quality can be improved by drastic public health measures" - Antonio Gasparrini, professor of biostatistics and epidemiology and senior author.

Research by London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) published in Nature’s Scientific Reports journal.

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Scientific Reports

Scientific Journal providing information from all areas of the natural sciences

Topics mentioned on this page:
Air Pollution, Coronavirus