ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION, With the spread of a worldwide pandemic, almost all countries around the globe have been partially or fully locked down or sealed. Though it’s taking a toll on the economy everywhere, the lockdown situation can be credited with the improvement in the environment.
With production fully stopped, factories aren’t releasing air or water pollutants. This has caused clearer water and fresher air around the globe in all industrial cities considerably reducing water and airborne diseases.
EFFECTS ON THE AIR
With the sudden stoppage of industrial activities, the carbon emissions into the atmosphere have been significantly less. Nitrogen dioxide, greenhouse gas and responsible for aggravating respiratory diseases like Asthma, has stopped due to empty roads, closed industries and non-functional power plants. This reduction over cities has been identified by the satellite Sentinel-5P. Thus the COVID-19 lockdown has involuntarily been conducting the largest experiment of a low-carbon economy.
EFFECTS ON THE WATER
The canals of Venice have returned to their previous clarity and cleanliness. Due to the absence of tourists and boats, the water in the canals which was always in motion and polluted is cleaner and calmer. In fact, all waterways around the water are cleaner and resting. With the international lockdown, several water resources have crystal clear water causing reduced chances of water-borne diseases like diarrhoea.
The significantly reduced air pollution has proved to be beneficial for people with respiratory illnesses like asthma, bronchitis etc. Also, the susceptibility to COVID-19 of sufferers of respiratory diseases is much more than a normal person. In fact, reduced rates of asthma can cause decreased coronavirus infection and reduce the mortality rate. Agriculture is also expected to receive a boost due to cleaner air and water. With the purification of air and water, people around the globe expect to have better health during this lockdown period.
With less human movements, seismologists have reported lower vibrations from “cultural noise” indicating a calmer planet.
A FEW LINGERING DOUBTS
Besides being jovial about nature healing itself and wild animals returning to their free unrestricted movements, several specialists are expressing their anxiety of a sudden surge in carbon emissions once the lockdown is lifted. Experts are warning us about the serious health and natural consequences of sudden explosion in air and water pollution that is sure to happen to increase production and restore the economy. In an attempt to save livelihoods and GDP, we might have to compromise on public health. Also, the betterment that nature has caused to itself, would be wasted with the start of use of fossil fuels post lockdown.
At this stage, with experts busy in predictions and possibilities, none among the laity has any idea about whether the coronavirus was a blessing in disguise or the precursor to greater destruction.