Impact of Covid 19 on the Gobal Environment
Visakha Government Degree College for Women
The worldwide disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in numerous impacts on the environment and the climate. There is a severe decline in air pollution that has caused many regions to experience a drop in the emissions of poisonous gases in the atmosphere. It has been observed that there was an increase in the amount of greenhouse gases produced since the beginning of the industrialization era that caused average global temperatures on the Earth to rise resulting in the melting of glaciers and rising sea levels. In various forms, human activity caused environmental degradation and an anthropogenic impact. This paper describes the impacts and changes in the environment observed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Further it implicates the measures that were expected to follow to improve one’s health like quarantines, health awareness and social distancing.
Key Words: Environment, Social Distancing, Air Pollution, COVID 19 and Nature.
In India the lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seems to have had a positive impact on rivers in the country. With industrial units shut, river water has been clean since the lockdown. Pollution in major cities of India has dipped as a result of the lockdown. Vehicular emission and dust from construction sites have reduced helping India breather clean air.
The COVID-19 pandemic is also likely to have a significant impact on other environmental factors, including the emission of greenhouse gases as the global economy heads into recession. (COVID-19) epidemic is first and foremost an issue of human health and safety. But as people have changed their everyday behaviours and patterns to contain or avoid the virus, there have been some subtle effects on the environment. It is true that coronavirus has slowed down the world economy, put entire countries under lockdown and brought to a halt the daily lives of people. But the main beneficiary of this slowdown is to curb the virus from spreading and for the protection of the environment.
Impact on Air and Water
The coronavirus pandemic is having a great impact on our planet. Marked changes have been observed both in the plant and animal kingdom. NASA used an ozone monitoring instrument (OMI) to analyze and observe the ozone layer and pollutants such as NO2, aerosols and others. These instruments helped NASA to process and interpret the data coming in due to the lock-downs worldwide. It observed a marked decline in nitrous oxide levels and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere due to the reduction of air traffic, travel by road, travel by sea, oil refining and coal consumption. It is alarming to note that presence of nitrogen dioxide gases in the atmosphere dropped significantly during this phase of Covid-19 pandemic. At the same time the reduction in vehicle traffic led to a drop in air pollution levels in the atmosphere.
The COVID-19 pandemic is wreaking havoc on countries around the world, causing a global health crisis while forcing economies to shut down in the face of strict quarantine measures. But the outbreak is also having an intriguing impact on Earth’s environment, as nations restrict the movement of people. One of the areas that scientists witnessed a big difference is in air quality, purity in water and eco-balance in nature. It is observed that the pandemic lead to a huge reduction in air pollution in those regions that have been significantly affected by COVID-19 such as China and Italy. Important sectors of economy like industries, aviation and other forms of transport grinded to a halt. In China, emissions fell 25% at the start of the year as people were instructed to stay at home, factories shuttered and coal use fell by 40% at China’s six largest power plants since the last quarter of 2019. According to Ministry of Ecology and Environment the proportion of days with “good quality air” was up 11.4% compared with the same time last year in 337 cities across China.
In Europe satellite images showed nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions fading away over northern Italy. Similarly conditions were observed in Spain and UK.Air pollution levels as observed by satellite are showing drastic improvements in many areas that have been undergoing restrictive quarantines due to COVID-19. The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on countries around the world causing a global health crisis while forcing economies to shut down in the face of strict quarantine measures. But the outbreak is also having an intriguing impact on Earth’s environment as nations restrict the movement of people.
One of the major areas that scientists are witnessing a big difference is in air and water quality. It seems that the pandemic is already leading to huge reductions in air pollution and water pollution in those regions that have been significantly affected by COVID-19 such as China and Italy. Driving and aviation are key contributors to emissions from transport, contributing 72% and 11% of the transport sector’s greenhouse gas emissions respectively. As industry, aviation and other forms of transport grind to a halt air pollution levels as observed by satellite are showing drastic improvements in many areas that have been undergoing restrictive quarantines due to COVID-19. These emissions have fallen for a short term in countries where public health measures such as keeping people in their homes have cut unnecessary travel. Frequent flying forms a large part of the carbon footprint for people who travel regularly, so these emissions could simply come back if people return to their old habits.
Demand for fish and fish prices have both decreased due to the pandemic. Fishing fleets around the world were mostly idle. This helped in fish biomass to increase due to the sharp decline in fishing. In European waters, some fishes double their biomass. Sea turtles were spotted laying eggs on beaches they once avoided due to the lowered levels of human interference and light pollution. As people stayed at home due to lockdown and travel restrictions, various animals like wild bears, cheetahs, elephants, deer’s, monkeys and birds have been spotted in cities.
Water is one of the most precious gifts given by nature to the humanity. Life on the earth is possible only because of water. It is a precious natural resource. It is important to ensure that we conserve water to ensure that this resource is not depleted. A recent analysis by the Delhi Pollution Control Board found that the quality of the Yamuna River flowing along New Delhi has also improved during the lockdown. The report cited a decrease in runoffs from 28 industrial clusters and less trash. Similarly water quality of the River Ganga in Kanpur improves as industries are shut due to lockdown. There has been 40-50% improvement in quality of water in Ganga. The Ganges, India’s longest river considered holy by Hindus has now even became fit for bathing in some areas along the 2,575-kilometer (1,600-mile) long river.
The unprecedented nature of the restrictions meant that pollution levels in air and water have started to drop. India’s coronavirus lockdown has led to cleaner air “one hell of a change,” and better river quality. But the improvements may be short-lived as the economy restarts.
Measures to be followed for protection against COVID-19
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) suggested the following methods of protection from coronavirus:
- Maintain good hygiene by constantly washing hands with soap and cleaning them with hand sanitizers, especially after coughing, sneezing or using toilets, before handling or preparing food and after contact with patients or their personal belongings to prevent against virus.
2. Avoid direct hand contact with eyes and nose as much as possible.
3. Wear masks in the heavily crowded areas.
4. Avoid as much as possible contact with patients and their personal tools and use masks.
5. When coughing and sneezing, use tissues to cover mouth and nose. After that, dispose the used tissue in the trash can. Then wash your hands thoroughly and properly. When you sneeze and there are no tissues available, use the upper part of your arms to cover your mouth and nose and avoid using your hands.
6. Maintain good hygiene habits in general to prevent against coronavirus.
- Frequently drinking warm water at regular intervals of four hours. Avoid eating junk foods and spicy foods. As much as possible avoid cold drinks.
Countries that are experiencing COVID-19 have adopted different approaches to slow the spread of the virus. Some have tested extensively, carried out contact tracing, limited travel and forbidding large gatherings, encouraged physical distancing and quarantined citizens. Others have implemented full lockdowns in cities with high infection rates and partial lockdowns in other regions with strict protocols in place to prevent infections.
The pace and scale of opening up from lockdown for India may depend on the availability of the crucial testing capabilities that will be required to get a better handle on the spread of the virus, granular data and technology to track and trace infections and the build-up of healthcare facilities to treat patients. In parallel, protection protocols, correlated with industry, could be designed for different settings like construction sites, factories, business-process-outsourcing companies, urban transit, and rural–urban labour movement.
It may be the case that people who are avoiding travel right now are really appreciating spending time with families and focusing on those really core priorities. These moments of crisis can highlight how important those priorities are and help people focus on the health and wellbeing of family, friends and community.”
STAY HOME STAY SAFE