Covid-19 and environment

Positive impacts of Covid-19 on environment

You can say Earth is under maintenance! Yes, no doubt Covid-19 has hit us all hard by taking lives, jobs and mental health. But if anything, this pandemic has also shown us the difference that communities can make when they look out for each other. During present lock down, apart from Covid-19 updates, there are many positive and hopeful news are coming from different parts of the world. One of the best news in recent years when it comes to environment is, reduction in pollution across the world. While people are at home, no traffic and less traffic has reduced the air pollution as well as water pollution levels much.

Here are some of the positive changes happening with environment and human life in this pandemic-

  1. Italy witnessed clear water in its channels and there is no mugging the water. Birds and dolphins returning to clear water. Dubai is seeing stingrays returning to Marina waters!
  2. Due to India’s a strict nationwide lockdown, Covid-19 spread is contained effectively in most states. The strict lockdown has resulted in reduction in air pollution in Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and other parts of the country. Lockdown includes shutting down factories, worshipping places, markets, construction projects and most public transportation. The impact is clearly visible in famous river Ganga and Himalaya mountain range.  Ganga which is considered as sacred river is flowing with clear water without tourist visitation. After 30 years, the snow-covered range of Dhauladhar – white range of Himalayas’ is visible from 300 km distance!  
  3. Aclima mobile sensor network that measures hyperlocal air pollutants in Bay Area of California, reported a trend in decline in CO2. Similarly, early in the March, the nitrogen dioxide emitted from motor traffic and power plants has fallen heavily in many parts of the world. Apart from India, cities in European countries, USA and China have seen fall in nitrogen dioxide concentration.
  4. Black carbon (BC), sooty black particles emitted by diesel engines, heavy oil and coal fired power plants can cause respiratory cardiovascular disease, birth defects and cancer. These sooty particles in the environment has reduced from past one month in Bay area as well as in other major cities in the world.
  5. Overall greenhouse gas emissions have fallen across the continents which is a boon to the environment.
  6. Researchers observed that a decline in nitrogen dioxide impacted ozone positively. Ozone level has increased temporarily. Otherwise, an increase in ozone was happening only during weekend referred as “weekend effect”. Now the weekend effect on ozone one can observe during lock down days.
  7. Working from home has become a possibility for many companies and it has resulted in use of less energy consumption.
  8. Even though farmers are greatly affected by the Covid-19, there are many reports saying people heading back to agriculture to grow their own food as a result of Covid-19 pandemic. Younger generation who moved away from the agriculture are keen to get back to agriculture or showing interest in growing crops in abandoned fields.
  9. Less usage of single – use plastics is noted around major cities and towns in various countries.  People are making conscious choices when it comes to health, exercise and diet. Families are giving importance to home cook food, cleanliness and self-hygiene.
  10. Creativity and improvisation suddenly gaining importance! We have found that we can survive without frequent visits to market or shopping center. We understood that we don’t need to contribute to everyday traffic.
  11. We have rediscovered meaning of humanity. We also have newfound real-life heroes – nurses, doctors, first responders, police, many charitable institutions who are serving free food for needy and volunteers who are stepping up to help those who are under distress.

This pandemic has taught us very valuable lessons. Question is- what happens when the pandemic ends? Will we get back to our old selves by continuing to disturb and destroy the environment or will we minimize our actions and protect environment and the future generation.

Author: Sumana Rao | Posted on: April 20, 2020

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