COVID-19 might be a worldwide pandemic, but could it be an environmental tonic?
The panic of coronavirus is sweeping
the world, as you might have seen through toilet paper hoarding memes or
perhaps by the near-empty supermarket shelves in your own town. Despite our
tendency to love internet humour, it is extremely important not to make light
of the illness. Especially as circumstances change. That being said, while we
are probably aware of the scary consequences of COVID-19, it is having a rather
unexpected side effect: a positive environmental impact.
Since the beginning of the outbreak
around New Year’s Eve last year, more measures are being taken to limit the
spread of the virus worldwide. Some of these measures include limits on global
trade, social distancing and encouraging limiting travel. All of these have led
to a decrease in carbon emissions which is good for the environment.
In Wuhan China, where the outbreak
originated, there has been a noticeable drop in air pollution. NASA published these images of the air pollution about
the city of Wuhan which shows the air pollution clearing as the outbreak has
China is the world’s largest
contributor to climate change, and experts estimate that their emissions have
been cut by about 25% since the outbreak. Similar changes have been recorded in
Italy who have also been heavily affected by the pandemic. Cleaner air also
aids in the respiratory recovery for those with the virus, making this side
effect a win-win.
of course, is not the best way to reduce climate change. It has also led to a
temporary halt of ‘School Strike for Climate Protests’ worldwide and postponed
the upcoming United Nations summit on climate change. So whilst COVID-19
measures might be acting as medicine for the environment right now, it’s
clearly not a long term solution; just a silver lining to keep in mind.
for Looking After Yourself and the Environment:
your hands! Try to wash your hands with soap and water rather than using hand
sanitiser when it is possible. Hand sanitiser is unnecessarily bottled in
plastic and many doctors agree that it doesn’t remove debris to the same degree
as soap and water. Water washes the germs off your skin and down the drain.
Minister Jacinda Arden has advised us that social distancing should become our
new normal. Arden defined social distancing as remaining outside of spitting
distance of those around you. Although this could also mean limiting contact
with those who are sick or big social gatherings. Make use of awesome
technology such as Snapchat and Facetime to stay in touch with your friends!