Coronavirus and the Environment

Coronavirus and the Environment

Neha Chandra, Specialty Editor

Within the past few months, the CoronaVirus pandemic has taken its toll globally. We have all seen the tremendous sufferings and the negative impact this virus has brought. On a brighter side, this pandemic has benefited the overall condition of the environment.

For example, Corona has helped greatly reduce our carbon footprint. Due to many factories and businesses closing down there has been a significant drop in manufacturing reducing the pollutants released into the atmosphere. Additionally, since fewer people are commuting there have been fewer vehicles on the road which significantly reduced the number of air pollutants.

Coal and oil industrial activities have also dropped drastically. This has led to a decrease in carbon dioxide emissions. A recent report stated that most influential industries in China were not operating at their normal pace during quarantine. These low operating levels resulted in carbon dioxide emissions coming out at 25% lower. Although, on an annual scale this is only a 1% decrease. 

Shockingly, in some cities, there have been drastic changes in the environment. For instance, the canals in Venice have run clear. The passers-by can see the fish at the bottom of the canals swimming peacefully amongst the COVID- 19 Pandemic. Experts say that this exciting phenomenon is due to the lack of boat traffic. The boats that once rode across the canals stirred up sediments that floated on the surface of the water, causing the cloudiness. The lack of tourists and commuters in this area can also contribute to the clarity of the Venice Canals.

Additionally, according to NASA the COVID- 19 travel bans and lockdowns have significantly impacted the air quality around airports. As air traffic has drastically reduced the nitrogen dioxide levels surrounding airports has decreased. Jennifer Kaiser at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta claims, “Airports are usually some of the hottest spots for nitrogen dioxide.” Joanna Joiner explains, “The nitrogen dioxide isn’t very high to begin with, so changes are subtle”, “We need to determine if a change is due to weather, like wind, or if a change is due to decreases in transportation.” 

Although COVID-19 has brought terror and death it has also given the environment a chance to heal itself. It has given us time to reflect on how we as humans have negatively impacted our beloved planet and how we can take steps to fix it.