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For Earth Day 2020, while countries around the world deal with the COVID-19 crisis, lockdowns are bringing a wave of fresh air to some of the most polluted cities

When global leaders began asking people to stay inside their homes and practice physical distancing, it was a measure meant to fight the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. But since the world has been in lockdown, skylines have cleared and air quality has visibly improved in some regions.

Scientists have documented declines in smog and contaminants in cities across the globe, from Europe to India and China, as industrial activity and transportation have all but shut down in many regional hubs. Take a look at some comparison images.

Venice, Italy, on January 6, 2018 and April 17, 2020. Manuel Silvestri/REUTERS
New Delhi, India, on November 8, 2018 and April 8, 2020. Anushree Fadnavis/REUTERS and Adnan Abidi/REUTERS
North Jakarta, Indonesia, on July 26, 2018 and April 16, 2020. Beawiharta Beawiharta/REUTERS and Willy Kurniawan/REUTERS
Islamabad, Pakistan, on August 3, 2017 and April 20, 2020 Faisal Mahmood/REUTERS and Saiyna Bashir/REUTERS

With files from Reuters