Coronavirus is Saving the Environment

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Gracie Ellis, Staff Writer

The Coronavirus pandemic has devastated many aspects of our world; as more people are affected by this virus, businesses close, and the world falls into despair, we assume that Coronavirus will ruin everything. Yet we also have to look on another side of the story. As people descended into quarantine around the world, we saw a sudden increase in the health of the planet. With the fear of Covid-19 and forced quarantine, the world saw a significant drop in pollution, and we saw a glimpse of good through everything bad, as the world began to heal in the midst of a massive pandemic.

As most air travel was prohibited in an attempt to slow or cut off the spread of the coronavirus, places all around the world saw a large drop in air pollution, reducing not only the threat of Covid-19’s effects, which are focused on the lungs, but the threat of climate change (caused by the low air quality) around the world and is a feared long term effect of massive amounts of pollution. In China, the place with the worst air quality in the world, a recorded 25 percent of carbon emissions was stopped in comparison to the previous year due to the bans put on travelling and mandatory quarantine. This led to massive increases in overall air quality in China, and a massive drop in pollution of any kind.

Other places around the globe have also seen a decrease in air pollution in the midst of the Coronavirus in comparison to the year before. Studies have shown a drop of almost 60 percent of nitrogen dioxide pollution around China, parts of Europe, and the United States. As most places start to open back up to the public, the amount of air pollution starts to rise with it, but the sudden drop in pollution around the world within a few months of quarantine is a hopeful glimpse of lower pollution in the future.

The air quality has not been the only thing with a drop in pollution. In Italy, the city of Venice (which is famous for having boat rides for people on vacation constantly going through the canals), has also seen a drop in pollution in its waterways. Due to the lockdown put in effect to halt the spread of Covid-19, the sediment which was constantly being moved and stirred up due to the boats, settled to the bottom of the waterways, and fish swimming in the canals have finally become visible through the usually dark and murky waters, and the waters look much clearer than before.

Even though the environment seems to be healing from the effects of pollution, can it stay this way? As businesses begin to open back to the public, and quarantine bans lift, we see the small positive effects quickly reverse as pollution from people and travelling resume. With the drop in pollution created in just a few months of quarantine, places around the world appeared healthier, even in the midst of a global pandemic.