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The coronavirus pandemic's (positive) impact on the environment

As we have heard and experienced for so many times, nothing in this life is completely positive or negative. While the whole world has been struggling fiercely to stay healthy and overcome the severe economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, it seems nature has finally got its chance to renew itself. Some great news has arrived from all over the world stating that the coronavirus pandemic's positive impact can be clearly seen if you take a closer look at the environment.
A  tree on a small piece of land.

People living in some of the biggest, well-known cities in the world can finally observe the blue skies during the day and fascinating stars at night. Waters are clearer and wild animals are surprisingly pushing their boundaries and entering some densely populated areas. The lockdown that keeps people in their homes has given these animals a chance to enter cities more frequently and roam the streets freely without any fear of danger.
Unfortunately, these positive changes are only temporary. As has been witnessed so many times, the economy and the environment are unfortunately inversely proportional. When the economy thrives, the environment suffers, and vice versa. Hence, learning how to live an eco-friendly lifestyle and live more sustainably is imperative if we want this situation to change. Now more than ever is the time to act and introduce some serious, permanent changes.
So, how has the coronavirus pandemic influenced the environment? Here is our answer.

Nitrogen dioxide emissions are significantly lower

Nitrogen dioxide (NO₂) is a toxic gas emitted from the engines of cars, buses, trucks, and from factories. When its concentration in the air is high, it affects our respiratory systems and causes breathing problems. In some cases, it can even cause asthma.
Now, due to the lockdown, everything has been put on hold. There are few or no vehicles on the roads, and many factories are closed. Consequently, the concentration of nitrogen dioxide in the air is significantly lower and many countries are reporting that, at the moment, it is much lower than it was in 2019. The biggest difference is detected in the countries most drastically affected by the coronavirus pandemic – China, Italy, Spain, and the USA.

Particulate matter 2.5 has been reduced

Particulate matter 2.5 (PM 2.5) is one of the most toxic and most dangerous air pollutants. PM 2.5 actually represents tiny particles in the air that reduce visibility, can travel from your lungs into the bloodstream, and cause new or worsen existing medical conditions. PM2.5 causes a wide range of health problems - respiratory problems, eye, nose, throat, or lung irritations, cardiovascular issues, asthma, and bronchitis. Most importantly, it is among the group 1 carcinogens, which shows best how harmful this pollutant is.

Blue sky and clouds
With the reduction of PM 2.5 in the air, the visibility has improved considerably - people can now enjoy watching the sky even in big cities.

PM 2.5 particles come from vehicles and the processes that involve the burning of fossil fuels. They can be carried over extremely long distances and can cause problems hundreds of miles from their original source. Now, when the world economy has stopped, the concentration of PM 2.5 has been reduced worldwide. Judging by the official reports in China, at least 70,000 lives have been saved in this country only due to the reduction of PM 2.5 in the last three months.

A massive decline in carbon dioxide emissions

We all know that carbon dioxide is a great causer of climate change. Bearing in mind that the transportation sector greatly contributes to the high level of carbon dioxide in the air, it does not surprise that we can see the above mentioned massive decline in CO₂ emissions. Experts claim that this is the biggest decline since World War II.
Previously, all the economically developed countries took serious measures to reduce the concentration of CO₂ in the air and avoid serious consequences. Eco-friendly transportation solutions were sought for and many other strategies applied but without effective results. At this point when the coronavirus pandemic is still in progress, we can see clearly that CO₂ has stopped being a huge threat to the environment, at least temporarily. What ecologists fear the most is the practice countries will apply after the pandemic has passed. It will be necessary to work much harder due to substantial financial losses this pandemic caused to the economy. Will we be able to keep the emissions optimal and minimize air pollution or stop it in general? Not without a major change in our approach to the economy and manufacturing industry.

An illustration of a woman holding our planet in her hand.
Reducing the emissions of CO2 will help us preserve the environment.

It is critical to find green solutions for everyday things, like storage, for example. Start with smaller changes and finally move on to the crucial ones. We need to utilize all of our means available to improve the protection of the environment and our health and decrease the negative effects of pollution.

Wildlife has also been affected by the lockdown

Lately, there have been numerous videos on social networks that became viral in which you can see wild animals in the streets of big cities. While it is true that this situation has been manipulated in many cases, there are still reports coming from all over the world where people claim they have noticed this unusual custom of wild animals entering densely populated, urban areas. This used to happen occasionally in the past as well, but it was much rarer and people did not pay attention to it as they do now. Why is the current situation different? Because the streets are empty due to the lockdown and animals can wander freely without being in danger.

A fox in the field.
Wildlife has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic as well.

Some of the examples proving the above-mentioned fact involve wild goats seen in a Welsh town, swans in Venice, Nubian ibexes in an Israeli resort, a wild puma lost in the Chilean capital, wild coyotes in the streets of San Francisco, and many more.

Final thoughts

When the coronavirus pandemic eventually passes, it is the responsibility of all the governments worldwide, as well as our own personal responsibility, to use this opportunity to opt for, promote, and insist on an eco-friendly lifestyle and the renewable energy industry. People should make their homes more eco-friendly, while governments should stop investing in those industries which are closely linked with fossil fuels. The current situation is our chance to improve the quality of our lives and we should make the best use of it. 

1 comment

Nesnes said...

Covid-19 : Globally, authorities have confirmed more than 5,270,000 cases of the coronavirus , 2,500, 786 recovereds and more than 380,500 deaths.