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Earth Day 2020: Photos of Polluted Places Before and After COVID-19 Lockdown

Just in time for Earth Day 2020, a new photos reveal the visible transformation in the global atmosphere from the time before the era of coronavirus and now.

Taken in the days and weeks after an international shutdown to curb the pandemic, the before-and-after images are stark illustrations of how human activity impacts the environment — and the good that comes when we stop.

Despite what looks like good news for the planet, scientists say the impact of the coronavirus might not be enough to avert impending ecological disaster, such as a looming American megadrought, the ever-more-rapidly melting of the polar ice caps, or the disappearing coastlines.

Still, the following photographs speak for themselves:

Images of New Delhi, India on Oct. 28, 2019, left, and April 20, 2020. India’s air quality improved drastically during a nationwide lockdown to curb the coronavirus.AP Photo/Manish Swarup
India’s capital city, New Delhi in 2019 and 2020
A combo shows a boat on the banks of the river Yamuna on March 21, 2018 and after air pollution level started to drop during a 21-day nationwide lockdown in New Delhi, India, April 8, 2020. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi
Clear water is seen in Venice’s Grand Canal due to fewer tourists, motorboats and pollution ahead of Earth Day in Venice, Italy, April 16, 2020. REUTERS/Manuel Silvestri
A combination picture shows a view of the Italian Alps amid dense fog and smog January 8, 2020, (top) in Milan, Italy, and the same view, April 17, 2020. REUTERS/Flavio Lo Scalzo
A combination picture shows high-rise buildings in Jakarta, Indonesia amidst smog, July 4, 2019, (top) and the same view, April 16, 2020. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan
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