The year 2020 has presented all of us with struggles we could never imagine facing in our lifetime, but it has been extra tough on travellers.
With borders and airports closing down worldwide right as summer was approaching, anybody suffering from wanderlust has seen their short-term plans crumbling down in front of their eyes: we have found ourselves not only unable to explore new places and experiment new cultures, but also forbidden to commute to the other side of our own town to see a friend.
However, stuck in our homes, glued to our phones and TVs more than usual, bombarded by the many disheartening pandemic-related news, we have also found out our planet is getting cleaner.
In response to this, Dealchecker has come up with an online tool – appropriately named “Lockdown Effect” – allowing users to check levels of pollution in more than 40 cities around the world, focusing on fine particulate matter (particles responsible for most pollution-related health issues) and comparing last year’s data to April 2020.
So if you’re already daydreaming about the day holidays are not a taboo anymore, you should check out this list of the cleanest countries we think you should visit after lockdown.
5. Colombia, a misunderstood jewel
Although travel-affectionates are the furthest from being prejudiced, it is undeniable how in the past Colombia suffered the consequences of a bad reputation. This has kept countless visitors from enjoying its unique landscapes, not to mention one of the friendliest cultures one could encounter and their universally renowned coffee blend.
Although times are changing and more interest for Colombia keeps sparking in tourists every day, they can now add an extra reason to pin this destination on their map: the country’s level of pollution has decreased massively since the first few days of lockdown, with Bogota already hitting a 40% reduction in April and not stopping there.
This news leaves literally no excuse to keep avoiding this South-American gemstone.
4. Russia, a colorful revelation in every season
In our collective imagination, Russia is perceived as a cold country most people would rather stay away from. Although the Russian weather is undeniably glacial, the truth is Russia’s history, tradition and architecture are unmatched and mesmerizing, something impossible to witness anywhere else in the world and definitely a treasure we shouldn’t miss.
An element the country is much less proud of is the level of pollution in all the main centres, with Moscow taking the crown; however recent statistics show that lockdown measures have effectively lowered pollution almost by a half, with a reduction of 46.2% in the capital.
Imagine beholding the Kremlin and the Red Square without that unhealthy layer of smog weakening their vibrant colors.
3. Georgia, a world on the edge of two worlds
Caught between two seas and two continents, Sakartvelo – as the locals call it – is literally a crossroad between cultures, seasons and ages: in fact, on the same day it’s possible to swim in the Black Sea and ski on the Caucasus Mountains, which tower over diverse, energetic cities.
Although the country sneaked into travellers’ radar only recently, Georgia hasn’t been immune to the diminishing effects of pollution and that is why it’s thrilling news to find out Tbilisi’s level of smog has gone down by 48.1% between April 2019 and April 2020.
Definitely worth a visit before this little jewel becomes mainstream.
2. Sweden, a royal haven
Foreigners and natives alike describe this Scandinavian country as a fun, safe, quiet but fulfilling place to be. It has literally ranked in the top 10 Happiest Countries for the last five years and at times like these, when the environment is the most sensitive subject on everyone’s agenda, the fact Sweden has one of the cleanest airs in the world could definitely influence people’s opinion.
When you add to all of that the notion that this recent lockdown has brought pollution down by an extra 62.7%, it becomes simply inexcusable not to travel there as soon as possible.
1. Australia, an all-around national park
The Land Down Under was having a bad year before any of us did, due to the New South Wales fires that couldn’t be contained until late February. This alone would be a good enough reason to give Aussieland some much needed and well-deserved love. But if you need more persuading than that, keep in mind this beautiful country is an ideal destination no matter what your favourite holiday activities are: whether you prefer surfing or hiking, sailing Whitsundays and spending a day sunbathing at the beach and boat or deepening your history knowledge in museums, wine-tasting or taking a stroll in a park, Australia has got you covered.
How did Australia conquer the summit of our Cleanest Countries list, though? Statistics show main cities like Sidney and Brisbane have registered a 30% pollution decrease, with the capital – Canberra – peaking at 83.1%.
How not to cheer Australia on?