Due to the continuous increase in the no. of coronavirus cases day by day in Europe and North America in March, the prohibitive general health & safety precautions were brought into effect to fight off the intensifying pandemic.
These included the stay & work from home, which were first issued in Italy, and afterwards, it was followed with a fast succession in many other different countries around the globe.
After the order to remain at home, all the offices, schools, workplaces, & factories limited their activities, in fact, some of them were shut down and also the road traffic gradually got decreased automatically, airlines also decreased their scheduled trips by almost 60-95% and all this has drastically improved the overall air quality index. The pollution level of the Ganga Yamuna water dropped to an unimaginable no. like never before as a result of which even dolphins started appearing in the waters of Yamuna. Nowadays, one can easily see the all the natural wildlife and the birds, parrots, peacocks, etc. have come out from their nests/homes which earlier was hidden and some were becoming extinct while some were coming in the list of endangered species only because of the pollution, radiation from mobile towers, etc.
Slashed Greenhouse Emissions | Coronavirus impact on the Environment –
Although the lockdown has impacted the substantial economic and social stability of the worldwide production, consumption, and affected the employment levels and in fact has increased the attrition rate among the various job sectors. Despite all this, it has been associated with a significant decrease in air contamination and greenhouse gas emissions.
Accordingly, air quality levels on the planet’s significant urban areas improved drastically in March and April. Air quality improved to a great extent due to a decrease in manufacturing plant and street traffic discharges of carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and related ozone (O3) formation, and particulate matter (PM).
While Earth seems to be healing during the COVID-19 lockdown, the Coronavirus impact on the Environment’s waste remains a concern.
By putting into consideration all these factors, the gradual reduction in the carbon emissions have prompted a transitory drip in the CO2 emissions from the pre-emergency levels. It is encouraging some people to trust that our global society will be able to reduce the harm caused by excessive emissions of greenhouse gasses from the past long years over the coming days maybe for a short period but will mitigate the climate change positively.
So as long as the coronavirus pandemic keeps all monetary activities diminished, discharges of CO2, methane & other poisonous gasses will remain moderately low. Notwithstanding, it would be short-sighted to finish up this is a very slight improvement in the environment as the past situation of alarming pollution levels will get back to the same level when the financial movement gets in & the crises settle down.
Many ecological campaigners are accordingly requesting that bailout bundles for transportation organizations and other mechanical producers should get some relief for excessive emissions reduction for their future activities. Such arrangements could help in preventing the pollution levels from ascending to pre-emergency levels going ahead.
Not all Positive
However, the Coronavirus impact on the environment is not all positive since there is a huge amount of non-recyclable waste generated. Volumes of non-recyclable waste have risen; extreme cuts in the farmlands and marine export levels have prompted a huge amount of organic waste; monitoring and maintenance of natural ecosystems have been temporarily halted, and the travel activities to the natural areas have also been stopped.
Local waste management issues have arisen as the municipalities have suspended their daily garbage & waste collection activities from their respective areas and thus leading to a temporary stop over the recycling exercises due to the feelings of dread/fear of spreading infection in recycling centres.
Grocery stores and other vegetable & fruits retailers have again started using the plastic bags for selling the food items to people concerning the health & safety issues of the public. Not only has this, due to stay-at-home ordered by the government. People now prefer to do online-shopping and accepting take-away food delivered at their doorstep with single-use packaging and to support these food delivery outlets and other online portals selling essential items are giving contactless deliveries with complete sanitization and other hygiene practices being followed rigorously by them.
Although, these advancements have made intense difficulties for the waste management industry at a time when they are already operating with limited staff due to the coronavirus crisis.
With the rise of import limitations in trade markets and a sharp decline in the accessibility of freight transportation services, the coronavirus emergency has prompted expanded volumes of un-shippable rural and fishery items.
Apart from this, also many export-oriented producers are generating too much output far beyond what they usually produce or their actual production capacity which is all getting absorbed in the local markets these days, since people at their homes not working so, automatically their consumption level has increased to manifolds, generating a lot of organic waste on a daily basis.
Since this waste is left to rot, levels of methane (CH4) discharges, an ozone harming substance, from rotting produce, are expected to rise exponentially during the crisis and even in the coming months after the crisis ends.
As the exports of agrarian and fisheries items have declined, production levels have plunged, causing joblessness to grow in both the sectors of the economy.
Many post-harvest processing workers in these sectors are women supporting households, causing extreme hardships, particularly for low-income women in developing countries where social safety nets are not in place. We can see a devasting impact of coronavirus on world climate.
Read about Early Symptoms and Mortality Rate of Coronavirus here
Impact of Coronavirus on World Climate is putting ecosystems at risk:
There is a huge concern for our ecosystems and protected species as per the impact of coronavirus on World Climate. Due to the overall lockdown in many countries, the national park and marine conservation workers are asked to stay at home. So, there is nobody to look after the species living in the parks. Also, the absence of authorised workers has led to an increase in illegal deforestation, fishing and wildlife hunting.
The sudden stoppage in the ecotourism activity has also increased the cases of encroachment and other illegal activities. Moreover, the absence of tourists in the mainstay at many parks has caused unemployment in the staff working over there.
Although, our central and state governments are taking measures to help people who are losing their jobs and determined to provide food to poor people.
The benefits that we are getting due to lockdown like clear sky, less pollution will become again the same after all this. And, the problems that we are facing will also resolve gradually with due course of time.
What we have learned is, the importance of a clean environment and how to survive during the falling global economy. It will certainly help us to better understand the mechanics of environmental sustainability, societal consumption patterns, and acknowledge the importance of nature.
If this pandemic crisis is prolonged for a longer period of time, many of the workers have to look for alternate ways to generate their income. Further, it can cause over-exploitation of our natural resources and ecosystems.
Need for Action
Analyse the consequential social and economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic to get detailed information about the threats on the environment and natural resources.
Many rural and coastal ecotourism workers are dependent on the sustainable use of the local environment and its natural resources.
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has come forward to help rural and coastal workers to work under this crisis period and help them to recover the losses with the improved performance post-crisis. The Sustainable Trade and Environment Programme started by UNCTAD will assist SMEs, MSMEs, producers and government stakeholders to make strategies to overcome this crisis.