Air pollution in China has rebounded rapidly from welcomed lows observed during the country’s coronavirus lockdown — even exceeding pre-crisis levels, worrying data shows.
The Asian nation recorded a spike in air pollution levels in April which surpassed what was recorded for the same time last year, according to a report from Finland-based Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air obtained by CBS News.
The researchers now warn that this could signal the beginning of a “dirty” economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic in China.
“Air pollutant levels plummeted during the national lockdown in February, bottomed out in early March and have now overshot their pre-crisis levels,” the group said.
Though air quality was expected to deteriorate again with lockdowns lifted, the group said it was not anticipated that it would “overshoot pre-crisis levels, especially when many economic sectors are still reeling.”
“Such an overshoot would signify a ‘dirty’ recovery in which the more highly polluting sectors are leading,” the group warned.
Experts blamed the rebound on industrial emissions, noting that the country has allowed most economic activity to resume, according to CBS.
“Large-scale enterprises in construction and manufacturing are understandably desperate to resume production as urged for economic recovery,” Ma Jun, founder of Chinese non-profit organization, the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, told the outlet.
“Though the risk it’s posing to the environment shouldn’t be overlooked and strict supervision is required.”
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