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Is the pandemic offering humanity a new hope?

The COVID-19 is wreaking havoc on economies, societies, and the mental health of people from all around the world. For better or worse, it is changing the concept of “normal” for humanity, and it will leave many long term impacts and issues. However, despite all the horrors the pandemic is inflicting on us, people are trying to focus on the half-filled side of the cup.

Many believe that the virus is providing us with a chance to save our planet. Therefore while humans are staying put in their homes, they claim that mother nature is recovering from our destructive footprint on her own. So, is this true? Can the pandemic provide us with the silver lining we need to save our planet? 

Air quality

There is no denying that social distancing is improving the air quality in all around the globe. With the decrease of activities from industrial sites, factories, and construction sectors, the risk of toxins being released into the air is also drastically minimized. 

The travel bans along with the cancellation of social gatherings have caused Airline ridership to slump. Thus, aviation emissions which used to account for almost 2.4% of global CO2 emissions, are now dropping significantly. 

Moreover, traffic is reduced all around the globe. Thus, the overall levels of congestion are decreasing at a rapid speed. 

Reduction of carbon imitation and global warming’s looming threat

Previous Carbon Brief analysis proved that the current pandemic has temporarily cut the CO2 emissions in China by 25%. Moreover, researchers are estimating that the pandemic will cut 5% of 2019’s global total carbon emissions. This indicates that the crisis is playing a key role in achieving the largest annual fall of CO2 emissions ever. Thus, the hope of meeting Paris Agreement goals concerning global warming arises.

A decrease in the burning of fossil fuels 

The pandemic is also decimating the demand for fossil fuels. The decrease in the burning of fossil fuels is helping in pollution reduction greatly. Furthermore, the planet’s top oil producers have agreed to cut oil production. 

The return of the wildlife

On the other hand, too much hope leads to delusional observations. Since the start of the pandemic, people wanted to believe in the idea of wildlife reclaiming their land. Thus, fake news about wildlife’s sightings started circling online. 

While some of this news was true, most weren’t. moreover, many accounts overlooked the mere fact that these animals were already regular visitors to these cited areas even before the pandemic.

Industrial Waste

The huge demand for medical supplies has resulted in a deluge of medical waste. In China alone, the volume of medical waste was reported to rising up from 40 to 240 tons a day at the height of the epidemic.

Moreover, plastic wastes are increasing due to online shopping packaging. Since everyone locked up in their homes, the online shopping business is thriving. Therefore, the fallout from this huge increase will remain to be seen in the near future.

The overall impact on the environment

Researchers argue that most of the coronavirus’s environmental impacts, whether negative or positive, are going to be temporary. All the impacts will be gradually undone once the global economic life resumes where it initially left off. However, the crisis should teach us many valuable lessons about the mechanics of environmental sustainability, and societal consumption patterns. So that we can reduce environmental degradation in a future crisis-free world and help save the planet. 

The pandemic will aid us in the fight against pollution and global warming, just not in a drastic way. It will armor us with the knowledge that we need in order to win this war. Thus, it is truly offering humanity some kind of hope for a better green world. We just need to be perspective enough to seize ths chance.

References:

COVID-19 and its effects on the environment. (n.d.). Retrieved May 23, 2020, from https://inhabitat.com/covid-19-and-its-effects-on-the-environment/

B. (2020, March 27). Will Covid-19 have a lasting impact on the environment? Retrieved May 23, 2020, from https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200326-covid-19-the-impact-of-coronavirus-on-the-environment

Wilks, J. (2020, April 28). What influence on climate is the coronavirus lockdown really having? Retrieved May 23, 2020, from https://www.euronews.com/2020/04/13/covid-19-and-climate-how-much-impact-is-the-current-lockdown-really-having-on-our-environm

Wilkinson, D., & Chávez, L. (2020, April 22). How Covid-19 Could Impact the Climate Crisis. Retrieved May 23, 2020, from https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/04/16/how-covid-19-could-impact-climate-crisis

What is the effect of COVID-19 on Climate Change? (n.d.). Retrieved May 23, 2020, from https://www.oneyoungworld.com/blog/what-effect-covid-19-climate-change

Bomey, N. (2020, March 13). Highway traffic is plunging in these US cities amid the coronavirus pandemic. Retrieved May 23, 2020, from https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2020/03/13/coronavirus-pandemic-cratering-road-traffic-these-us-cities/5041250002/

Analysis: Coronavirus set to cause the largest ever annual fall in CO2 emissions. (2020, May 07). Retrieved May 23, 2020, from https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-coronavirus-set-to-cause-largest-ever-annual-fall-in-co2-emissions

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