Air pollution has decreased dramatically in parts of the Middle East in the past five years – partly due to armed conflicts since the Arab Spring.
A new study suggests the improvement is the result of the conflicts, economic recessions and human displacement suffered across the region.
The findings state: “A combination of air quality control and political factors, including economical crisis and armed conflict, has drastically altered the emission landscape of nitrogen oxides in the Middle East.”
Jos Lelieveld of the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz, Germany, was the lead author of the study, which was published in Science Advances.
Between 2005 and 2010, the Middle East had the world’s fastest-rising air pollution emission levels.
A similar increase took place in East Asia, most likely due to economic and industrial growth.
“However, [the Middle East] is the only region where this pollution trajectory was interrupted around 2010 and followed by a strong decline,” Professor Lelieveld said…
In Syria, the level of nitrogen dioxide over Damascus has fallen by 50 per cent since the start of the civil war in 2011.
“It’s proportional to people, so if emissions have gone down in Syria by 50 per cent, I’d expect that 50 per cent of the people might have been displaced, as indeed they have,” Prof Lelieveld said.
The findings “disagree with scenarios used in prediction of air pollution and climate change for the future,” he added.
Yes, yes. Unless you’re one of the delightful nation-states which carries around the occasional nuclear weapon and threatens other lands with an opportunity to glow in the dark for several thousand years.
I admit, though, it is tempting to consider reducing the number of human beings in any location because of generally positive results. I would prefer doing so in a manner equally beneficial to the human species – as it is to those others, animal and vegetable, occupying the same landscape.
I suggest providing a basic scientific education including knowledge of birth control. In general, everywhere that happens the birth rate diminishes and tends to produce the same result. No fighter-bombers or helicopters required.