Lockdowns save people from air pollution: Evidence from daily global tropospheric no2 satellite data

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Motivated by the global fear of the Coronavirus-19 (COVID-19) pandemic, we investigated whether lockdowns save people from air pollution, notably from Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2 ). Using daily satellite data from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), we first found that the global NO2 tropospheric vertical column density (TVCD) decreased by 16.5% after the Coronavirus-19 (COVID-19) outbreak. Then, we calculated the global health benefits, as the monetized value of life, using the value of a statistical life (VSL). The total global health benefits were approximately 8.73 trillion USD, accounting for 10% of the global GDP; such benefits would be the largest in China, followed by the United States, Japan and Germany. Our results suggest that lockdowns may bring benefits to countries that policy interventions cannot easily bring, thus highlighting the importance of social distancing.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11777
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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