The present pandemic has predisposed a severe threat to the globe’s health and economy. Millions of individuals have already died due to this virus, and millions more are still sick. As per the World Health Organization, COVID-19 has caused over 4.62 million active infections and over 0.3 million fatalities globally as of May 16, 2020. According to current statistics, the vast majority of patients who died from the infection had underlying health difficulties such as kidney damage, heart conditions, diabetes, and so on (Li et al. 518). COVID-19 is among the largest pandemic in the 21st century, following the MERS, and has resulted in the extensive global quarantine (Zowalaty and Järhult). Thriving metropolises have become vacant lots, open spaces where people have gathered for decades have become practically deserted, and thousands around the globe are under lockdown. The quarantine established due to the coronavirus pandemic is devastating to humanity, with all markets closed, religious buildings shuttered, public gatherings prohibited, travel restrictions imposed, construction projects suspended, and the economy and stock exchanges globally collapsing. The coronavirus outbreak, on the other hand, has a number of positive aspects that the world has been witnessing all through the quarantine in terms of climatic and ecological changes. States-sponsored extensive quarantine restrictions around the globe led to a huge change in the environment, which is a promising indication for the comprehensive ecological adversaries, like pollutant gas effluents and ozone layer depreciation. This article discussed some of the good effects of the coronavirus-triggered lockdown on the ecology, as well as how the epidemic might be used to spur constructive change.
Climate and Air Quality Change
According to WHO, air pollutants kill seven million individuals annually, and over 80% of the metropolis populations are subjected to poor air (WHO 2020). As individuals stay at homes, air quality is enhanced substantially, notably in significantly impacted regions such as Wuhan, northern Italy and other significant metropolis in the United States. In 337 metropolis across China, emissions of dangerous gases among many pollutants declined by 25% early in 2020, and air quality enhanced by 11.4% than in the earlier past years. According to the WHO, this adjustment has saved 50,000 people in China alone (Kottasová).
According to the WHO, when the quantity of NO2 in the air surpasses 200 g/m3, it might trigger inflammation in the respiratory tract, leading to respiratory problems. Due to the present lockdown, transportation is limited, and industries are shuttered; as a result, NO2 levels in the air have plummeted dramatically in industries globally (from 5.6 g/m3 to 0.2 g/m3) (Otmani et al.). NASA and ESA monitored the ozone to track the sudden drop in NO2 level throughout COVID-19’s first quarantine stage in China. This drop in NO2 concentrations started in China and gradually spread throughout the rest of the globe. The reduction in NO2 level was important in China since the coronavirus pandemic struck at the same season as the Chinese New Year (Spring Festival); like all industries, transportation and enterprises were already shuttered COVID-19-induced lockdown.
The emission of co2 causes global warming (CO2). Emissions of co2 are greatly influenced by transportation, industry, and energy. The coronavirus induced intermediate suspension of such sectors has resulted in the highest drop in artificial CO2 emissions since WWII. Even during pandemic, aircraft aviation traffic plummeted by 60%, causing an intermediary decline in CO2 emissions relative to pre-crisis statuses. The coronavirus pandemic-induced lockout, for example, has cut carbon footprints in China by around 200 million metric tons. At least 77,000 lives might be spared due to this decrease (Climate Action Tracker). A similar impact has been found in northern Italy, with Columbia University scientists reporting a 5–10 percent drop in CO2 emissions. Therefore, the current COVID-19 control measures around the globe are revealing a direct link between pollutant concentrations and economic activity like manufacturing, transport, and energy generation, as well as small-scale city-level disruptions. As the corona pandemic subsides, this shows that clean energy-based systems will be required.
Aquatic Life and Water Quality Enhancement
According to studies, the water quality in rivers and oceans improves during COVID-19-induced lockdown. The cessation of dumping wastewaters and other contaminants into water reservoirs has had a good implication on water quality. The Ganga River is among the globe’s most polluted streams. The state had allocated resources worth millions trying to remove wastes from domestic and industrial parameters along the river with no effect. However, the water quality of the Ganga River enhanced by 40% to 50%, as per real-time water assessment (CPCB). The water of the Ganga River is drinkable after years, according to the Indian Institute of Technology. The Ganga and the Yamuna Rivers have recovered, with dissolved oxygen levels ranging from 2.3 to 4.8 mg/L in the Yamuna, previously deemed null in 2019. Coronavirus control measures have accomplished what authorities have been unable to do for years. The biological oxygen requirement of the rivers Ganga and Yamuna has reduced in their most contaminated parts, according to data from CPCB and UPPCB (CPCB; UPPCB). Following two months of COVID-19 quarantine, the water in Venice appeared clearer, and aquatic life that had not been seen in the city for several decades is observable. Clean streams and other waterbodies have a substantial positive implication on marine survival. Most creatures have retreated to their normal haunts after the quarantine was enacted. Following the closure of industries and commercial entities, worldwide pollution levels have dropped. Not only can large mammals recuperate, but aquatic life appear to enjoy the pollution-free environment as well. Aquatic organisms have gained charge of the process due to the halting of multiple cruise liners, leisure, and other marine activities.
Slow Life Moving
During the COVID-19 lockdown, mobility has been stifled all across the globe. G globally, all types of mobility, such as public transportation, micro-mobility, and private automobile travel, have seen huge reductions. Public transportation has decreased in several regions, with some transportation agencies reporting a 95% drop in usage. COVID-19 Community Mobility Reports provide insights into shifts in travel behavior by using anonymized, aggregated geographical data from mobile phones to depict mobility tendencies over several weeks (Rystad Energy). Such reports depict movement patterns in the most congested areas, such as businesses, markets, parks, residences, entertainment venues, and pharmacies. People’s movement has decreased since the COVID-19 outbreak, according to data acquired from the mobile phones by the community.
Reduced mobility has been noted worldwide, particularly in Italy, USA, Germany, Canada, India, China, Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom. Lesser road travel and low air flights throughout the globe led in a substantial reduction in fuel use. According to data collected by Rystad Energy, a Norwegian energy company, demand for fossil fuels could decline by 9.4% by 2020 (Rystad Energy). Furthermore, this epidemic provides an excellent chance to learn how to manage urban traffic and mobility to cut fuel use and maintain a safe and healthy ecology.
The COVID-19 pandemic is the world’s first worldwide health crisis, with serious ramifications for health and the economy. Yet, it has also had positive ecological effects that could become a framework and motivation for subsequent ecological alterations to aid in environmental improvement. The present worldwide pandemic has compelled the reflection and envisioning of a different future. The quarantine measures demonstrate that a healthier planet is achievable. The global pandemic reveals a direct link between pollutant emissions and larger economic activities like manufacturing, transportation, energy generation, and small-scale disruptions in municipal settings. This demonstrates that a clean energy-based system must be implemented once the corona outbreak stops. Contaminants from consumerism, warming, agriculture, mining, manufacture, transport, and other anthropogenic impacts will damage the ecology if pollution is not controlled. As a result, suitable techniques for preventing ecological degradation should be implemented. The lockdown provides optimism that the plant may reduce unwanted human meddling with the environment.
During times of crisis, control measures like quarantine and limited human engagement with nature were revealed to benefit nature and the environment. COVID-19-triggered lockdown is enhancing ecological statuses, particularly air and water quality, and made a considerable concurrent drop in NO2 and CO concentrations, resulting in a substantial restoration of ozone levels, according to reports from around the globe. This habitat regeneration demonstrates that human-induced ecological degradation is recoverable. National authorities should make the necessary measures to guarantee that the recovery is not simply temporary. A full investigation of the environmental and economic consequences of adopting such a short-term closure as an alternative instrument for reducing pollution is necessary.
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