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Pollution over Milan, Italy

Pollution over Milan, Italy

COVID-19 has created opportunity for change

May 12, 2020 — 

In an editorial in the Winnipeg Free Press, Dr. Nazim Cicek, associate head of biosystems engineering at UM, says that some good could come out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

An environmental engineer, Cicek notes that the worldwide economic slowdown has resulted in a decline in pollution in places like New Delhi, Wuhan, London, Los Angeles, and the entire region of northern Italy.

In fact, Cicek says:

Since the state-imposed lockdown on March 19, Los Angeles has experienced the best air quality in its monitored history over the last 25 years.

He notes that the link between COVID-19 and pollution is more substantial than most people realize:

Recent studies have shown strong correlations between air pollution and the severity of disease outcomes for the coronavirus. Researchers in northern Italy have provided evidence that living in a high air-pollution area such as the hard-struck Lombardy region could be one of the main factors for much higher mortality.

Cicek cautions, however, that the decline in the pandemic will give scientists an opportunity to reassess the level of atmospheric contaminants and see exactly how much various countries’ lockdowns made a difference in air quality.

And he notes:

As I take another deep breath of clean Manitoba air, I remain optimistic about emerging from this uncertain period with a renewed sense of action, commitment and strength. Our children deserve nothing less.

Read the entire editorial in the Winnipeg Free Press here.

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