The question about COVID-19 pandemic being a godsend for human beings or not can not be answered, but it would seem to be one for the environment. Following the outbreak of the coronavirus, many countries had adopted lockdown procedures that stopped people from moving out and for shops and other establishments to close down. As World Environment Day 2020 nears, we take a look at the positive impact the COVID-19 lockdown has had on the environment. Also Read - CPL First T20 league to Start Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, to Take Place in Trinidad & Tobago From August 18
A bit about World Environment Day, it was first held in 1974 and is celebrated every year on June 5 to encourage awareness and action for the protection of the environment. It stood for raising awareness about issues related to the environment like air pollution, marine pollution, global warming, human overpopulation, etc. Also Read - Dalai Lama Celebrates Birthday, Says Climate Change & Pandemic Teach Us To Work Together
Before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the air around us had been deemed very toxic to breathe in due to the amount of greenhouse gases that had been emitted over the centuries. The Earth faced rising temperatures, which in turn led to the melting of glaciers and rising of sea levels. Environmental degradation was happening fast due to the depletion of resources such as air, water and soil. But after the coronavirus lockdown commenced, there have been slight changes in the environment. Also Read - No Lalbaugcha Raja Ganapati to be Installed on Ganeshotsav in Mumbai Due to Ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic
Impact of COVID-19 Lockdown on Environment:
After the lockdown was put in place in many countries, there was lesser travelling done by people, whether it be by their own cars, or by trains and flights. Even industries were closed down and not allowed to function. This in turn led to the pollution in the air dropping significantly, as there was a marked decline in nitrous oxide emission.
Since there were no boats, whether they be fishing or pleasure ones, plying on the rivers and waterways, the water has cleared up. In areas like Venice, the water became so clear that the fish could be seen and there was better water flow. No doubt, because of the lesser human footfall even the oceans are recovering and marine life is thriving.
Effect on Wildlife:
Again where fish is concerned, the lockdown has seen a decline in fishing, which means that the fish biomass will increase after over-fishing almost depleted it. Apart from that, animals have been spotted moving about freely where once they would not dare to go. Even sea turtles have been spotted returning to areas they once avoided to lay their eggs, all due to the lack human interference.
Effect on Vegetation:
Plants are growing better because there is cleaner air and water, and because yet again there is no human interference. With everything at a standstill, plants are allowed to thrive and grow and produce more coverage and oxygen. Less litter also means lesser clogging of river systems, which is good in the long run for the environment.
In conclusion, though there has been a positive impact on the environment due to the lockdown, there is fear that once people start travelling again or go back to doing what they have been doing, all the positive impact will also disappear.