The Mother Nature's Quarantine: How is The Environment Reacting To The Pandemics

The global coronavirus pandemic has completely changed the way we live. Fewer cars on the streets, as most of us are working from home and lots of factories and businesses are currently closed. It is needless to say that this pandemic will have a profound and lasting social and economics impacts in the whole world. Furthermore, as the countries starts to implant methods to contain the virus, some unintended benefits for the environment started to appear all around the world.

Below, check out some amazing natural transformation events that are taking place during this pandemic.

  1. 1. Water Quality

    With less boat traffic, cruise ships gone and the city closed for tourists, the coronavirus lockdown has clear out the waters of Venice. The city canals have changed almost overnight and now the clarity of the water has improved dramatically. Locals can see ducks on the streets and even fish on the water. This is a remarkable transformation for a city that, in february 2019, was described by the European Parliament as presenting “worrying” levels of both air and water pollution.  

  2. 2. Wildlife

    Not only in Venice the animals started to show off again, but also in other countries. A lot of  people from New Delhi, India and Bueno Aires, Argentina, have been posting videos and photos of animals walking on the streets of their cities. As a response to the human lockdown, animals started to come off to explore. This situation shows us how human life affects how other creatures live. 

  3. 3. Reverting The Air Pollution?

    Besides those natural reactions, there's also been an improvement in air pollution. According to the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air, 25% of carbon emission in China has reduced, as the country produced fewer goods and used less energy. Carbon dioxide is the main cause of global warming and China is the world's largest emitter. Furthermore, there’s been an improvement in other gas emissions. For example, the emissions of nitrous oxide levels. In Milan, the emission of nitrous oxide has decreased 40% compared to the same time last year.

  4. 4. A Better World

    All this air pollution reaction has showed people how a healthier planet could look like. A few months ago, the city of Beijing was surrounded by smoke caused by the high level of air pollution. Now the smog-filled sky has been blue and clear. As already mentioned, the pollution levels have been down in China as a whole and, according to the Earth systems, scientist estimated that this reduction may have saved at least 77,000 lives on the country.

    The city of Los Angeles, in the United States, has also experience the same smoke reduction as in Beijing. Due to the pandemic, Los Angeles hasn't experienced such blue skies for a long time. The EPA air quality data showed that the city had its longest stretch off good air since the 1990s.

    It has been proven by several studies that air pollution has a big influence on our well being and its responsible for seven million deaths a year worldwide. Living in a pollution-free environment means a better quality of life and is essential for a better world. 

  5. 5. Not As Good As We Thought 

    Unfortunately, this pandemic hasn't brought us just good things for the environment. At the same time, while everybody is focused on ending the pandemic, there is less focus on protecting the environment. The 2020 UN Nations Climate Change Conference was postponed to 2021. Times magazine argued that the disruption could make people see global warming as a lower priority, weakening the pressure on the politicians, resulting in an excess in extra greenhouse gas production as the global economy starts moving again.

     Also, the lack of supervision due to the focus on the emergence of the pandemic provided coverage for illegal activity in vulnerable habitats, like illegal logging and land clearances. Satellite imagery showed that the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest is over 50 percent compared to baseline levels. Another big effect of the pandemic is the giant amount of medical waist. A disposable mask, for instance, is discarded in the natural environment, increasing the burden of plastic waste.

  6. 6. After The Pandemic

    All this good environment reaction, such as the reduction of pollution and the improvement in water quality, are not beneficial if they are not sustained. Unfortunately, this is not likely to happen. As we have seen in the past, during the global recession of 2008, the air pollution also got better. But, when the governments and companies started to restore the economy, all the environmental improvement was lost and the gas emissions revised much faster than they normally would have. This scenario is likely to repeat after the coronavirus pandemic. According to the executive director of the UN Environment Program, Inger Andersen: “Visible positive impact are but temporary, because they come on the back of tragic economic slowdown and human distress”. 

    Wildlife showing off again, air quality improve, high levels of deforestation and medical weist  are just some examples of how the environment is reacting to the coronavirus pandemic. On a first look, all the unintended benefits caused by the environment can be seen as a improvement. However, when we give a closer look, it is worrying that these benefits will not last much if countries don't have a green recovery when returning to normalcy. At last, one positive thing that we could take from this crisis is that, once the coronavirus pandemic ends, we could have a chance to avoid repeating the environmental mistakes of the past.

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The article above was edited by Helena Cardoso

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