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英国封城第一天:污染降了,空气好了

英国封城第一天:污染降了,空气好了

KATHERINE DUNN 2020年03月26日
目前正在酝酿之中的美国疫情纾困计划并没有直接解决租金的问题。

多年来,伦敦一直试图解决城市空气污染问题。现在,随着英国全国封城第一天的到来,伦敦的天空有望从冠状病毒传播的阴影中得到一丝好处:云散天晴。

周一,约克大学国家大气科学中心表示,二月中旬以来,伦敦的空气污染水平大幅下降,并指出下降幅度“远高于”过去三年的趋势。

该中心指出,天气等其他因素也会对空气污染产生影响。但同时表示,由于伦敦的交通逐渐减少,商业活动放缓,预计这种下降趋势将继续。

“英国多个城市的空气质量出现改善,与其他限制出行和户外活动的国家情况一致。”该中心大气化学教授阿拉斯泰尔·刘易斯在一份书面评论中表示,“主要原因是交通流量减少,其中二氧化氮的减少最为明显,而汽车尾气是二氧化氮的主要来源。”

专家预计,伦敦将复制全球其它封城地区空气污染明显下降的趋势。根据卫星监测系统的数据,在中国武汉和意大利北部——工业重地波河流域所在地、西欧污染最严重的地区之一——污染都大幅下降。

随着英国周一晚上开始封城,污染下降的势头应该将继续,而之前意大利、德国等其他欧洲国家也纷纷采取了更严格的限制措施,要求人们居家隔离,遏制冠状病毒的蔓延。

周一晚间,英国首相鲍里斯·约翰逊在电视讲话中宣布,除了购买必须的食物和药品、日常锻炼、从事必要的工作和紧急情况外,人们不得离开住所。

政府还禁止非共同居住的两人以上的团体聚会,称警方将驱散集会,对不遵守规定的人处以罚款。

“没有哪个首相愿意采取这样的措施。”约翰逊说,“我知道这种中断措施现在和将来都会对人们的生活、企业和工作造成伤害。”

上周,政府承诺拿出数百亿英镑刺激经济,应对企业被迫关闭和大规模裁员的困境。各项措施中包括承诺为那些否则将因为危机失业的员工支付80%的工资。

欧洲几大都城因为经济受到重创,正在发生转变。在这些地方,庞大的道路运输网和交通流量往往是污染的重要原因,尤其是,它们滋生了最危险的空气污染物:二氧化氮和颗粒物。

根据空气质量监测项目“伦敦呼吸”的数据,在伦敦,道路交通排放约占该市二氧化氮总量的一半,颗粒物总量的26%。在交通繁忙的地区,这些污染物的浓度经常超过法律规定的水平。

长期以来,降低排放都是伦敦市长萨迪克·汗的一项重点工作。在汗的领导下,伦敦在市中心设立了超低排放区;大幅增加了低排放公交车的数量,伦敦著名的红色双层巴士也用上了低排放车;并停止向新的柴油出租车发放牌照。

讽刺的是,近期排放量大幅减少,而在正常情况下,空气质量出现任何提升,都大大有利于拯救生命。

莱斯特大学的环境流行病学教授安娜·汉塞尔在一份书面评论中指出,根据英国皇家医师学院的数据,英国每年约有40万人死于户外空气污染。

“不幸的是,我们可能无法看到人们把空气污染减少与死亡率的下降直接挂钩,”汉塞尔说。她指出,至少到2021年,许多人的死因可能都难以分析——而压力、孤独和国家医疗系统过载都会导致死者生前的情况恶化。

与此同时,刘易斯说,伦敦和其他大城市最近的安静,可以提供一些关于未来的信息:“现在,城市排放暂时减少,为我们预判城市今后的空气质量提供了一些独特视角。”

我们利用这个视角,看到了也感受到了当排放大幅降低时,城市的模样。(财富中文网)

译者:Agatha

多年来,伦敦一直试图解决城市空气污染问题。现在,随着英国全国封城第一天的到来,伦敦的天空有望从冠状病毒传播的阴影中得到一丝好处:云散天晴。

周一,约克大学国家大气科学中心表示,二月中旬以来,伦敦的空气污染水平大幅下降,并指出下降幅度“远高于”过去三年的趋势。

该中心指出,天气等其他因素也会对空气污染产生影响。但同时表示,由于伦敦的交通逐渐减少,商业活动放缓,预计这种下降趋势将继续。

“英国多个城市的空气质量出现改善,与其他限制出行和户外活动的国家情况一致。”该中心大气化学教授阿拉斯泰尔·刘易斯在一份书面评论中表示,“主要原因是交通流量减少,其中二氧化氮的减少最为明显,而汽车尾气是二氧化氮的主要来源。”

专家预计,伦敦将复制全球其它封城地区空气污染明显下降的趋势。根据卫星监测系统的数据,在中国武汉和意大利北部——工业重地波河流域所在地、西欧污染最严重的地区之一——污染都大幅下降。

随着英国周一晚上开始封城,污染下降的势头应该将继续,而之前意大利、德国等其他欧洲国家也纷纷采取了更严格的限制措施,要求人们居家隔离,遏制冠状病毒的蔓延。

周一晚间,英国首相鲍里斯·约翰逊在电视讲话中宣布,除了购买必须的食物和药品、日常锻炼、从事必要的工作和紧急情况外,人们不得离开住所。

政府还禁止非共同居住的两人以上的团体聚会,称警方将驱散集会,对不遵守规定的人处以罚款。

“没有哪个首相愿意采取这样的措施。”约翰逊说,“我知道这种中断措施现在和将来都会对人们的生活、企业和工作造成伤害。”

上周,政府承诺拿出数百亿英镑刺激经济,应对企业被迫关闭和大规模裁员的困境。各项措施中包括承诺为那些否则将因为危机失业的员工支付80%的工资。

欧洲几大都城因为经济受到重创,正在发生转变。在这些地方,庞大的道路运输网和交通流量往往是污染的重要原因,尤其是,它们滋生了最危险的空气污染物:二氧化氮和颗粒物。

根据空气质量监测项目“伦敦呼吸”的数据,在伦敦,道路交通排放约占该市二氧化氮总量的一半,颗粒物总量的26%。在交通繁忙的地区,这些污染物的浓度经常超过法律规定的水平。

长期以来,降低排放都是伦敦市长萨迪克·汗的一项重点工作。在汗的领导下,伦敦在市中心设立了超低排放区;大幅增加了低排放公交车的数量,伦敦著名的红色双层巴士也用上了低排放车;并停止向新的柴油出租车发放牌照。

讽刺的是,近期排放量大幅减少,而在正常情况下,空气质量出现任何提升,都大大有利于拯救生命。

莱斯特大学的环境流行病学教授安娜·汉塞尔在一份书面评论中指出,根据英国皇家医师学院的数据,英国每年约有40万人死于户外空气污染。

“不幸的是,我们可能无法看到人们把空气污染减少与死亡率的下降直接挂钩,”汉塞尔说。她指出,至少到2021年,许多人的死因可能都难以分析——而压力、孤独和国家医疗系统过载都会导致死者生前的情况恶化。

与此同时,刘易斯说,伦敦和其他大城市最近的安静,可以提供一些关于未来的信息:“现在,城市排放暂时减少,为我们预判城市今后的空气质量提供了一些独特视角。”

我们利用这个视角,看到了也感受到了当排放大幅降低时,城市的模样。(财富中文网)

译者:Agatha

London has been trying to tackle its air-pollution problem for years. Now, with the U.K. on its first day of a nationwide lockdown, the city’s skies are expected to get a silver-lining benefit from the spread of the coronavirus: a break.

On Monday, the National Centre for Atmospheric Science at the University of York showed a sharp drop in air pollution for London beginning in mid-February, noting that the decline was “much more significant” than the trend for the previous three years.

The center noted that there are other factors that can affect air pollution—including weather. But it said the decline was expected to continue, given that traffic across the capital has increasingly disappeared and business has slowed.

“Air quality has started to improve in many U.K. cities, mirroring what has been seen in other countries that have restricted travel and levels of outdoor activity,” said Alastair Lewis, professor of atmospheric chemistry at the center, in a written comment. “This is primarily a consequence of lower traffic volumes, and some of the most clear reductions have been in nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which comes primarily from vehicle exhaust.”

London’s decline is expected to replicate the noticeable drop-off in air pollution occurring in other areas around the world that have been put under lockdown. Wuhan, China, and northern Italy—home to the industrial Po Valley, one of the most polluted areas in western Europe—have both seen dramatic drops in pollution, as measured by satellite monitoring systems.

The U.K.’s decline in pollution was expected to gain momentum as the country entered lockdown beginning Monday evening, following other European countries from Italy to Germany that have announced increasingly restrictive measures to keep people in their homes and stem the spread of the coronavirus.

In a televised address Monday evening, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that people were barred from leaving the house other than to get essential food and medicine and for daily exercise, essential work, and emergencies.

The government also moved to ban groups of more than two people who don’t live together from assembling, and said police would break up gatherings and fine those who do not comply.

“No Prime Minister wants to enact measures like this,” said Johnson. “I know the damage that this disruption is doing and will do to people’s lives, to their businesses, and to their jobs.”

Last week, the government pledged hundreds of billions of pounds to support the economy as businesses have been forced to close and companies have announced widespread layoffs. Those include a pledge to pay 80% of salaries for workers who would otherwise be laid off owing to the crisis, among other measures.

That dramatic economic hit is transforming Europe’s largest capitals, where pollution is often a consequence of the vast networks of road transport and their resulting traffic, particularly in regard to the most dangerous sources of air pollution: nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter.

For London, road traffic accounts for roughly half of the city’s NO2, and about 26% of particulate matter, according to Breathe London, an air-quality monitoring project. Concentrations of those pollutants frequently exceed legal levels in high-traffic areas of the British capital.

Bringing down emissions has been a long-term focus of London Mayor Sadiq Khan. Under Khan, the city has instituted an Ultra Low Emission Zone in its center; dramatically expanded its fleet of low-emissions buses, including the red double-deckers the city is known for; and stopped licensing new diesel taxis.

One of the ironies of the dramatic recent reductions in emissions is that—under normal circumstances—any increase in air quality would have a measurable impact in terms of saving lives.

Outdoor air pollution is estimated to cost 400,000 lives per year in the U.K., according to figures from the Royal College of Physicians, noted Anna Hansell, professor in environmental epidemiology at the University of Leicester, in a written comment.

“Sadly we may not see reductions in air pollution translated into direct drops in mortality,” said Hansell. She noted that at least into 2021, the causes of many deaths—which can be exacerbated by stress, isolation, and an overburdened National Health Service system—will likely be difficult to parse.

In the meantime, Lewis said, the newfound quiet in London, and in other major cities, may offer something going forward: “The temporary reductions in emissions being seen at the moment provide us with some unique insight into what might be possible for future air quality in cities.”

It’s a view of how a city with dramatically lower emissions could look—under better circumstances—and feel.

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