COVID 19 pandemic; A blessing in disguise to heal the wounds of nature
It is the foremost known fact about COVID 19, which is a critical social and health problem in 2020 worldwide. At least for a second, have we ever think, that how would this virus affect the other aspects of the world? For instance, if we take the environment, is there a relationship between the environment and the secondary factors of COVID 19?
The answer should be “Yes”; there is a mutual relationship between those two sectors. Human beings who did their day-to-day activities in a close association with the environment had to take a short break with all their employments and duties. People had to give up the life race for money for a moment and had to wait and see what is going on in this world now. The past few months allowed people to think and understand how this pandemic situation changed their lifestyle within a short time.
Even at this moment that I am writing this article, the atmosphere surrounding me has been healing and getting clean than how it was in the past few months. There are clear records about the reduction of carbon monoxide. And also other harmful gas levels in the atmosphere during the COVID 19 pandemic era. While the atmosphere been healing, what will be the different aspects of the environment?
As we all know, the ozone layer is the coat made out of the high concentration of ozone molecules in the stratosphere between 15-30km from the earth’s surface. About 90 % of the ozone in the atmosphere condensed into the ozone layer. It protects the earth’s surface from harmful ultraviolet radiation (especially ultraviolet B radiation) from the sun. The ozone layer covers the entire planet and acts as a covering sheath to protect life on earth. The ozone layer got severely damaged during the past years due to ozone-depleting substances like Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), halons, and Carbon tetrachlorides (CCl4). Industrialization and exponential human population growth enhanced air pollution releasing above mentioned gases and speeded the ozone depletion.
Ozone depletion happens in two ways. First, by thinning, the layer from mid-latitude of the globe. Second, by thinning over the Antarctic, creating an ozone hole. This hole had been about 7.6 million square miles, nearly three times the size of Greenland in general.
The United Nations World Meteorological Organization (WMO) stated that the ozone hole over the arctic has now closed. Is this due to the COVID 19 pandemic lock-down?
Even though many stated that the hole recovered due to the pandemic lock-down, many expertise didn’t accept it at all. Human activities were the leading cause of the depletion and lock-down during the pandemic. Which stopped all emissions, supporting the healing of the ozone hole.
Influence upon wildlife
Many cities were lockdown due to the pandemic situation. And that created previously busy roads, public places, and towns to be silent and calm. We were able to see that wildlife who hid inside reserves and small forest patches before, tend to come out of the forest and explore the quiet roads and cities near their niches. Zero traffic and vehicles in streets gave space to wildlife to thrive across even in the highways. Many social media and other media reported this news excitingly during past months. Many wild animal species would have experienced a happy period during the corona virus pandemic lock-down. But on 21st May 2020, BBC reporter Alexander Matthew has reported that this was not good for all wild species in a similar way. Because there has been a spike in poaching in many countries during the lock-down.
Environmental pollution and lockdown
Nearly half of the world population had to go under some form of lockdown, and that created positive impacts upon the natural environment. Recent studies conducted by NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration ) and ESA (European Space Agency) have stated that the pollution in some of the hotspots of COVID 19, such as Wuhan, USA, Italy, and Spain has reduced up to 30%. NO2 (Nitrogen dioxide ) is a high reactive pollutant that releases to the atmosphere due to fossil fuel combustion. Large volumes NO2 get releases to the atmosphere via vehicle emissions. But due to the lockdown as vehicle usage became minimum, the emissions also got reduced. Less road traffic and less industrial operations improved the air quality to a considerable level.
COVID 19 is a global pandemic that ceased many of the economic activities in the world. But this can be considered as a “ blessing of disguise.” It allowed nature to reclaim itself and get healed.
Muhammad, S., Long, X. and Salman, M., 2020. COVID-19 pandemic and environmental pollution: a blessing in disguise?. Science of The Total Environment, p.138820.