COVID-19 is turning out to be deadly for the human race as it continues to actively wreak havoc across the globe. As the countries go under lockdown, everything–economy, travel industry, aviation, livelihood, education, daily life—is hampered. However, as movement of the Human Race is on a standstill, nature, rather planet Earth is getting a chance to heal. Amidst the turmoil and uncertainty imposed by coronavirus, here are seven instances to acknowledge the silver lining of the pandemic:
1. Clearer Skies:
One of the most significant positive aspects of lockdown is the reduction in air pollution levels. NASA and the European Space Agency released satellite images which show plummeting emission levels of nitrogen dioxide in major Chinese cities and Northern Italy during January and February.
Due to the dramatic drop in carbon dioxide emissions, toxic gases released from vehicles, factories, power plants, the air quality has improved drastically.
In UK, NO2 levels have dropped by up to 60 per cent in certain cities. In India, some of the most polluted cities are witnessing clear blue skies as the air quality index moves to satisfactory levels in about 90 per cent of the 103 cities after lockdown.
2. Cleaner Water:
As the industries are under lockdown, there is a reduction in industrial wastewater discharge into water bodies, making them cleaner. The best example, in this case, are the infamous Venice canals which are at their clearest state of the last 60 years, this is primarily due to rapid decrease in tourist numbers in the Italian city.
As the sediment has settled down, the murky grey waters appear crystal clear, welcoming aquatic fauna back to the canals. The tourist ban has prevented the motorized speedboats and gondolas from venturing in the water, and in their place, schools of fishes, swans and other water birds have found their abode.
3. Airline Emissions Stalled:
Since the spread of the epidemic globally, air traffic has taken a nosedive. Around 67 million fewer passengers availed flights in the first three months of the year compared to 2019. According to studies, airlines add up to around 5 per cent of global warming, and international travel is one of the fastest-growing sources of global warming affecting climate change worldwide. With the travel industry grounded, emissions via airlines have reduced significantly.
4. Usage of Non-Renewable Resources Decreased:
The stress on nature is finally released as the demand for natural resources see a great fall. Petrol and diesel used in automobiles, coal used in factories and thermal power plants, pressure on petroleum, natural gas have reduced considerably as the countries go under lockdown. Further, the reduction in demand for oil due to widespread lockdowns has also impacted the air quality as there is lesser emission of harmful gases released into the atmosphere as a result of the combustion of the fuel.
Big consumers and producers like China, India, USA, UK are all under lockdown, therefore providing a perfect opportunity for nature to heal and regenerate.
5. Animals Reclaiming Territories:
With their human counterparts caged inside, animals have been emboldened to walk the streets unhindered. In Nara, Japan, Sika deer have been spotted in subway stations and city streets, munching on potted plants. In a beach in Panama, raccoons have been spotted. Several areas have experienced wild turkey and boar activities. In Llandudno, Wales, a herd of goats are tramping along the deserted lanes and empty town center.
The renowned Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland in the UK has introduced the Irish Dexter cattle, the smallest breed of cattle, in the Bay of Cows to help revive wildlife. The animals are fit to efficiently adapt to the region, and with the lack of human interference, they can settle down peacefully in their new surroundings.
6. Human-Nature Connection Re-Established:
The people are now coming to realize what they had been missing out due to busy schedules- their connection with Mother Nature. As the commercial rat-race is forced to come to a pause, the over-burdened people are getting much-required rejuvenation time. Thus, they are finding time to appreciate the little beauties of nature, which they often tend to ignore.
With the spring in its full bloom, unperturbed by human presence, nature is healing and providing amazing sceneries – clear blue skies, morning birdsongs, seasonal blossom trees, a riot of pastel colors of the setting sun and others, for us to enjoy from the indoors. People have also been engaging in gardening activities during quarantine. As nature heals, so does mankind.
7. The Planet Unites:
Coronavirus has provided the perfect opportunity for reflection and realization. It is one of the rare occasions where the whole world stands as one–helping with medical supplies, sharing information, spreading awareness, working to develop a possible cure or vaccine.
Humans are learning to cope with limited resources, industries reducing their dependence on a particular country, companies adopting new techniques, governments realizing their capability to combat a crisis. Though maintaining a social distance, the world has united as a single-family focused on the same goal.
No matter how powerful humans consider themselves to be, all it takes is a microorganism to remind them how insignificant they are in front of Mother Nature.