Virus shutdown will reduce air pollution

1 April 2020

Australia's air pollution and carbon emission levels could be on the way down due to restrictions imposed to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Experts are seeing fewer cars on the road as more people work from home and tougher restrictions are announced for public gatherings.

Australian National University Global Environmental Health Professor Sotiris Vardoulakis said on Tuesday restrictions on movement would result in reduced car emissions.

"There will be a reduction in air pollution as a result," he told AAP.

"It's an important benefit for the environment and for public health."

Prof Vardoulakis said there would likely be long-term changes to the way businesses and people operate as a result of the pandemic.

"There will be a huge long-term shift to more distant work, home working and home schooling, as well as telemedicine and online shopping," Prof Vardoulakis said.

Footage released in March by the European Space Agency shows China and Italy have seen a drop in pollution levels since they shut down operations or went into lockdown because of COVID-19.

Prof Vardoulakis said there would be further reductions in air pollution if Australia followed suit but they wouldn't be as extensive as those seen in heavily-industrialised countries.

Read the full article in Shepparton News, featuring commentary by Prof Sotiris Vardoulakis