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NASA satellite images show dramatic decline in China pollution due to coronavirus factory closures

The images show concentrations of nitrogen dioxide, "a noxious gas emitted by motor vehicles, power plants and industrial facilities," according to NASA.

The reduction in NO2 pollution was first apparent near Wuhan, the city at the center of the COVID-19 outbreak in China, according to NASA scientists, but eventually spread across the country.

Millions of Chinese citizens have been quarantined, and cities placed in lockdown since the start of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

"This is the first time I have seen such a dramatic drop-off over such a wide area for a specific event," Fei Liu, an air quality researcher at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, said in a press release. He added that he had seen a drop in pollution levels in several countries during the 2008 economic recession, but the decrease had been gradual.


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