The unforeseen benefits of battling coronavirus

The novel coronavirus, COVID-19, has swept across our planet, affecting hundreds of thousands of people and unfortunately taking the lives of many more than was initially expected. The current pandemic we find ourselves threatened by is by no means a blessing, however, it is essential to look for the good in a bad situation to be able to remain positive and optimistic in times like these. 

To prevent the spread of this pandemic, many of the world’s most developed countries have been in ‘lockdown’ for weeks and even months which has ultimately led to a break in industry and movement in these affected countries.

The coronavirus is finally giving our earth a ‘chance to breathe’ 

Ever since some of these big industrial nations have been on lockdown, scientists have noticed the environmental benefits of restricting people’s movement and the positive consequences of forcing citizens to stay at home. Many people have even said that the coronavirus is finally giving our earth a ‘chance to breathe’, given the current climate change crisis we find ourselves in. This is a result of less people going out in cars and less factories running which inevitably decreases the pollution that we generate.   

When China, one of the biggest countries in the world with a population of over 1.4 billion, locked down around 60 million of its inhabitants at the start of the year, scientists noticed the environmental benefits of people not leaving their homes.

For example, industrial operations in the coronavirus hot spot, Wuhan, ground to a halt, and travel restrictions within China meant that air, rail and road traffic were paused or scaled back. By reducing the production of the industries in China, this led to huge drop in China’s pollution. NASA also reported huge drops in Nitrogen dioxide over China due to the inactivity of these industries in lockdownOverall, the restrictions contributed to a 25 percent drop in China’s carbon dioxide emissions over four weeks beginning in late January, compared to the same time last year. This shows an enormous difference in air pollution during the peak time of coronavirus within China which shows how the pandemic aided in relieving our planet of these hazardous gases. 

Countries in Europe have also started to see the environmental impacts on a nationwide lockdown as well as ChinaThe coronavirus situation in Italy has been escalating to levels that no one expected, yet despite the horrendous social impacts this virus is having on the country, it too is seeing environmental benefits.  

The typically murky canals have now become clear to the point that fish are now visible. 

Around 20 million tourists visit Venice annually, yet since this has been restricted, the typically murky canals have now become clear to the point that fish are now visible. This is because of Italy’s efforts to limit the coronavirus meant an absence of boat traffic on the city’s famous waterways leading to the condition of the water changing very quickly which again shows another very positive outcome of such a horrendous situation.  

Perhaps this could serve as a lesson to many of us 

Both of these examples show how the contemporary pandemic we find ourselves in has produced unpredicted benefits for our planet. Perhaps this could serve as a lesson to many of us that it is possible to fight the current climate crisis if people cooperate and take the situation seriously. 

I believe the coronavirus pandemic has in fact given our planet a chance to breathe without being clogged with pollution from travel and industrial production, and, as a human race, we have been given a second chance to save our planet before it is too late. If we take the current situation, we find ourselves in and use it as a reset button, we could see even greater benefits come out of this truly scary and unprecedented pandemic. 

Isabelle Raikes

Featured image courtesy of Pedro Szekely via Flickr. No changes made to this image. Image license found here.

In article image courtesy of  @rpkampuchea via Twitter. No changes were made to this image.

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