Before-and-after photos show dramatic decline in air pollution around the world during coronavirus lockdown

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Photo Credits: Before DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP via Getty Images After Yawar Nazir/Getty Images

(CBS News)-As humans continue to stay indoors under lock down due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Earth is slowly healing. Wild animals have taken to roaming the streets, clear waters have returned to the Venice canals and the world is literally shaking less. 

With billions of people quarantined and businesses closed, travel has all but come to a halt, significantly decreasing carbon dioxide emissions. In fact, 2020 is on track to see the largest yearly global decline ever in emissions, reports CBS News’ Jeff Berardelli.

Adding to the evidence, two weeks ago typically smoggy Los Angeles had the cleanest air of any major city on Earth, according to IQAir, a tech company that tracks global air quality.

“About a year ago, Los Angeles was ranked the worst air quality in the entire country,” CEO of IQAir Glory Dolphin Hammes told CBS News correspondent Jamie Yuccas. “Now, we’re seeing some of the best air quality, not just in the country, but in the world.” 

While parts of China are starting to lift strict lock down orders, some cities across Europe and the United States are facing the second month of stay-at-home measures.  And while it’s unclear whether the benefits to the environment will last beyond the immediate crisis, these before-and-after pictures highlight the dramatic improvement in air quality  around the world, just in time for Earth Day.

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