Does this satellite image show the scale of China’s coronavirus cremations? Sulphur dioxide emissions which are produced when bodies are burned reach alarming levels in Wuhan
Satellite maps showed high SO2 levels in quarantined Wuhan and Chongqing
Sulphur dioxide is produced when bodies and medical waste are incinerated
China has decreed that coronavirus victims be cremated in low-key funerals
High sulphur dioxide levels at the centre of the coronavirus outbreak could be a sign of mass cremations, it has been claimed.
Satellite maps in recent days have shown alarming levels of SO2 around Wuhan, the Chinese city where the outbreak began.
In addition, there were high sulphur dioxide levels in the city of Chongqing which is also under quarantine.
Scientists say that sulphur dioxide is produced when bodies are cremated, and also when medical waste is incinerated.
China has decreed that the bodies of coronavirus victims should be cremated in low-key funerals to prevent large public gatherings.
The country’s National Health Commission said earlier this month that bodies should be ‘cremated close by and immediately’.
On top of that, there have been repeated claims – albeit unverified – that officials are concealing a higher-than-reported death toll with mass cremations.
The high sulphur dioxide levels in Wuhan would be consistent with a high number of cremations in the city.
One map from Czech-based weather service Windy.com showed sulphur dioxide levels in Wuhan at a staggering 1,350 micrograms per cubic metre (µg/m3) over the weekend.
For comparison, the World Health Organisation (WHO) says that a dosage of 500 µg/m3 should not be exceeded for more than 10 minutes.
The UK government considers a 15-minute concentration of 533 µg/m3 to be ‘high’.
According to the map, the SO2 levels were lower today but Wuhan and Chongqing still stood out compared to much of China.
Parts of Wuhan still showed concentrations above 500 µg/m3 on Monday, the map suggested.
Scientists say that cremating bodies releases SO2 along with other pollutants including nitrogen oxides.
Does this satellite image show the scale of China’s coronavirus cremations?