Over the past few months, the world has seen a lot of change. The corona virus pandemic has forced everyone to rapidly adapt to the situation in ways that we just couldn’t imagine. And for the first time in a long time, everyone on the planet is trying to move in the same direction. While most of us are on a self-imposed quarantine to help combat the spread of the virus, our environment is also benefiting from our absence. Here’s how the pandemic is positively impacting our environment:
Air pollution is at an all-time low:
As our dependence on technology has rapidly grown in the past few decades, so has our ability to pollute the environment around us. But with the lockdown and people staying at home around the world, the planet is finally getting a minute to catch its breath from the constant stream of pollutants we pump out.
Img Credits: NASA Earth Observatory
Pollution levels in China are markedly lower than last year. According to the European Space Agency, China witnessed a significant reduction in the levels of nitrogen dioxide, which is produced by car engines, power plants and other industrial processes and is one of the main pollutants in our atmosphere. This temporary reduction in pollution has resulted in major improvement in the Air Quality Index of the country, which in turn has led to fewer health issues. And this isn’t a standalone example. Italy too has witnessed positive changes in its air quality due to the strict lockdowns enforced in most of the country.
Image cred: theguardian.com
In India, the nitrogen dioxide levels have fallen by about 70% in different parts of the country and the residents of New Delhi are noticing the drastic drop in pollutants with every breath. According to the Central Pollution Control Board, the levels of PM2.5 and PM10, which measure the level of harmful particulate matter in the air, fell by 46 percent and 50 percent respectively. Some of the more polluted areas also saw an average drop of 60% in their levels of PM2.5 and PM10.
Pollution levels, in general, have been lower all over the world due to the steep decline in the use of transportation. Most countries have grounded their aircrafts or have reduced the number of flights to the bare minimum, while there are just a fraction of vehicles seen on the roads
Animals and birds are getting bolder:
Img Cred: AP Photo/Jae C. Hong
Since most of us have been locked in our homes in order to contain the virus, animals have made sure to use this opportunity to explore our concrete jungle. In Japan, deer have been seen roaming in herds through city streets and subway stations as the presence of humans is barely there.
Image credits: bbc.co.uk
And a deserted town centre in the town of Llandudno, Wales has been taken over by a herd of goats who have made themselves perfectly at home.
Mumbai too has seen a return of the wild, as peacocks were seen strutting around in the Parsi Colony of Tardeo. Around a dozen of them wandered into the locality from the nearby Doongerwadi forest and took to the streets, showing off their plumes to the audience.
Olive Ridley turtles are back:
Image cred: The New Indian Express
On the coast of Odisha, hundreds of thousands of Olive Ridley turtles returned for hatching season at the rookeries of Rushikulya. They skipped their visit last year due to, illegal fishing and constant human intervention, but this year that wasn’t a problem. According to the Odisha Wildlife Organisation, around 50% of the world’s population of Olive Ridley turtles come to Odisha’s coast for nesting season.
The cost of the pandemic has been very high. We have been forced to sequester ourselves and lakhs of people have died. But we are also witnessing the world coming together in a way like we never have before. And we are witnessing firsthand what our environment can look like when we work together. This is proof that when all of us try, we can make an impact. And after the pandemic has passed, this is the lesson we should take away from it. Because it’s still not too late to try.