Independence Day, a Clean Air Opportunity

YERUSHALAYIM -
Israeli Air Force aerobatic team, training for a fly-over of Yerushalayim on Independence Day. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The coronavirus lockdown has put a damper on Independence Day celebrations, but it’s not a total loss.

Travel restrictions that have been in effect at various levels around the country for weeks have resulted in significantly better air quality than normally measured during the same period.

On April 10, the Environmental Protection Ministry said that nitrogen oxides in the air on Erev Pesach were 90 percent lower than during the first half of March, before coronavirus-related restrictions were introduced. The levels were even 25 percent lower than during Yom Kippur, when Israeli roads are generally empty and pollution levels drop accordingly, according to The Times of Israel.

The ministry released satellite images of Israel taken by the SENTINEL-5 mission, part of the European Earth observation program Copernicus, which furnished further evidence of a drop in nitrogen dioxide since the coronavirus outbreak began.