COVID-19 and the environment

In this process of fighting the coronavirus pandemic, a couple of positive effects have been discovered in the environment. 

Carbon Emission 

Greenhouse gas emission has reduced due to the rapid reduction in the movement of vehicles, airplanes, and economic activities. One common cause of greenhouse gas is the emission of fumes from vehicles, airplanes, and industries. And over the past few months, the greenhouse gas emissions have dropped significantly due to the restrictions in movements and industrial operations (BBC). As the lockdown continues across the nations of the world, the increase in the quality of air will significantly improve the quality of life, and also save a lot of lives. Could this be a good break for nature? 

Waste 

The huge demand for protective materials such as gloves, face masks, etc. has significantly increased the number of wastes in the environment (Green Queen). Also, since most commercial industries are on lockdown, the number of commercial wastes produced has reduced leading to low or no commercial wastes. The use of reusable materials has also been on the increase since people believe it is safer and more hygienic during this period of isolation to own certain materials individually. This has helped to reduce plastic pollution. Could it be that lock-down shown to be introduced at some points in the year to elicit good environmental practices? We are just thinking aloud. 

Nature 

The impact of humans on nature cannot be over-quantified. In the past few weeks, even animals are wondering what is going on with the environment. It is no longer news that most countries of the world are on lock-down. Interestingly, there have been reports that as humans retreat indoors to fight the new coronavirus, animals are coming out to catch the breadth of fresh air (World Economic Forum). However, a lot of these reports have been debunked as fake news, meant to stir people’s emotions in this ravaging pandemic. Could this unprecedented human holiday cause nature teem with more life? We can only watch and pray. 

Post COVID-19 Environment 

If we are able to “reset” our thinking after the coronavirus, we can be motivated to be more eco-friendly in our day to day lives. Jobs that can be done remotely should stay that way, for example, to minimize the use of cars and public transport. People would have learned to be more resourceful and less wasteful during this time, shopping more sustainably out of necessity. We should look on the positive side after the coronavirus and carry our new found zero-waste habits into the future. It is possible to heal the planet faster than we expected after what we’ve seen with the coronavirus. The whole world doesn’t need to stop for positive environmental changes to happen, but small lifestyle adjustments from people all over the world that can go a long way to help the environment (Casper Ohm, Senior Research Scientist, Water Pollution Institute). 

Written by Abiola Akinniyi