Everyone being stuck at home has had at least one positive effect. Air pollution in Canada's cities has decreased due to all the necessary social distancing. Satellite images show just how significant the reduction has been.

Descartes Labs provided Narcity with images that show the levels of air pollution above Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary, and Vancouver. 

The pictures, taken by the European Space Agency's Sentinel 5P satellite, provide a look at the current average level of nitrogen dioxide in the air as compared to last year, per CBC News.

According to Health Canada, this particular compound is found in car exhaust and cigarette smoke.

Nitrogen dioxide can cause a number of respiratory problems. On top of coughing and wheezing, the compound found in most air pollution can also weaken lung function over time and make cases of asthma worse.

In the provided images, it's clear to see just how much air pollution has decreased in Canadian cities just by having people stay home and drive their cars less.

The drop in air pollution isn't exclusive to Canada. Data from the European Space Agency shows that major cities in Europe, including Paris, Madrid, and Rome, have seen drops in their air pollution.


The Big Smoke is looking a little less smoky now that people aren't filling up the streets like they used to. Higher concentrations of pollution seem to be remaining closer to Hamilton, which is known for its manufacturing.


Alberta's capital city, along with its surrounding area, saw a reduction in overall air pollution. Unlike Toronto, the regions around Edmonton have remained mostly clear.


The home of the famous Stampede has also seen a major drop in air pollution since the start of Canada's social distancing measures.


Finally, Canada's west coast has also seen a major reduction in its levels of nitrogen dioxide. It seems like staying home is helping to stop the spread of air pollution as much as anything else.

This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

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