In the 2020 edition of Environment Statistics, INE mentions the significant economic impact of the crisis caused by the new coronavirus, responsible for an 8.2 percent contraction in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the first nine months of the year, but points to a variety of positive consequences for the environment.

Emissions from burning fossil fuels fell 21.9 percent, electricity and natural gas consumption fell 3.8 percent and 9.4 percent respectively, less sector waste was also generated (3.9 percent between January and June) and INE also points to changes in household consumption patterns between January and September, compared to the same period in 2019, with a fall in consumption of non-food current goods.

"The pandemic crisis has ended up acting as a brake on consumption, relieving the pressure on the environment," the document said, which also mentioned a related effect on recycling, since "households have had an increased concern about waste separation. Despite the 4.7 percent increase in urban waste, there has been a 12.9 percent growth in selective collection by ecopoint.

The sharp drop in transport use, resulting from confinement and the restrictions associated with combating the pandemic, was also highlighted, especially in air transport, with a 67.7 percent drop in passengers and 55.9 percent in the number of aircraft in operation, as well as 56.6 percent of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

In air quality, the most relevant figures were the hourly average concentration of nitrogen dioxide, where urban traffic stations decreased by 26.6 percent, urban background stations by 27.3 percent and rural stations by 16.2 percent.

Among other indicators analysed, INE also highlights other positive factors for the environment, such as improved bathing water quality, increased investment in environmental protection in industrial enterprises and the fact that this was the fourth year since 2001 with the smallest burnt area.