France lockdown orders to curb the spreading of Coronavirus pandemic have produced a 20 to 30% decline in overall air pollution levels in Paris.
France lockdown has taken countless cars and delivery trucks off the roads since coming into effect on March 17.
It has massively reduced the number of flights at the two airports serving the capital.
The Airparif report said that just two days after the self-confinement began, it registered “a 20 to 30 percent improvement in air quality in the Paris metropolis, after nitrogen oxide emissions dropped by more than 60 percent.”
Major thoroughfares saw the biggest improvements, with pollution levels falling to those normally seen only in the city’s parks.
“This decline in air pollution was accompanied by a drop in carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, underscoring the links between these two problems and the joint benefits for the climate of any improvement in air quality,” Airparif said.
However, the lockdown had not led to marke declines in so-called PM2.5 and PM10 particles, the smallest and most harmful air pollutants.
The particles can penetrate deep into the lungs and even enter the bloodstream.
Airparif said increased home heating as colder weather set in, combined with continued agriculture activities in surrounding areas, had kept the particulate levels from declining.
“But thanks to the sharp traffic declines, the levels did not increase to alert levels, which would probably have been the case in normal conditions,” it said.
Moreover, France reported a daily coronavirus death toll rise of 240, taking the total number of fatalities from the outbreak to 1,100.
The increase makes France the fifth country to cross the 1,000 death toll mark since the epidemic began in China.
France now has 22,300 confirmed coronavirus cases, including an increase of 2,444 in the past 24 hours.
Across the country, 10,176 people hospitalized, including 2,516 in a serious condition.