The World Before and After COVID
Written by Aisha Aamir
Life before COVID was fun, amazing, and joyful for us humans. While we were enjoying life, the environment was slowly dying in front of us. When COVID hit us, most of the world paused. Many factories shut down which led Earth’s pollution to significantly decrease. The environment pressed its reset button and slowly started to fix things here and there.
Yearly, around 7 million people worldwide die from air pollution, as estimated by the World Health Organization (WHO). Over 80% of the urban population is exposed to unhealthy air. Due to COVID, most individuals remain at home which makes the air cleaner. Regions such as Whuian and Northern Italy have had cleaner air during COVID as opposed to before it. In China, the air quality improved by 11.4% and the harmful gasses and pollutants dropped 25% from the beginning of 2020.
PM2.5 is a particle formed from burning fuel and chemical reactions: the most poisonous pollutants around. Around 4 million individuals die yearly due to PM2.5, as per WHO. PM2.5 causes heart illnesses, strokes, lung cancer, chronic lung diseases and respiratory infections. This particle is located in over 100 urban areas. After the COVID lockdown, PM2.5 levels have decreased and thousands of lives have been saved from the effect.
Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is a toxic gas that is produced from the motors for cars and factories. It can cause inflammation in the respiratory tract which can provoke asthma. The lockdown in Pakistan significantly decreased NO2 levels across the nation. Europe and SouthEast Asia have likewise diminished their NO2 levels.
CO2, carbon dioxide emission is responsible for climate change. Industries, electricity and transportation vehicles have a tremendous commitment to carbon dioxide emanations. Because of the COVID lockdown, CO2 discharge has diminished around the world.
The progressing COVID lockdown across the globe has shown an immediate connection between air contamination and economic activities such as industrial activities, transportation and energy production. This confirms that it is vital for us to adopt spotless energy-based frameworks once the COVID-19 outbreak ends to continue the improvement of our environment.
Reports indicate that air quality isn’t the only thing that improved since the COVID lockdowns. The water quality in rivers and diverse water bodies is also improving. Numerous species are returning to their normal habitats since the beginning of the lockdowns. The closure of factories and commercial establishments has plunged down the contamination levels across the globe. Not only are the land animals returning back to their home, but the sea creatures are also returning back to their habitats. They also seem to be enjoying the break from the noise and water pollution. The lockdown gives us hope in limiting pointless human obstruction and letting the wonderful animals move back into their natural habitats.
The COVID-19 pandemic is the first and foremost global health emergency with severe consequences on everyone’s health, however, it has brought tremendous positive impacts to wildlife, nature and the environment. These significant impacts are an inspiration for the future, granting us hope that we can restore the well-being of our environment.
To further improve our environment’s state, governments and individuals should heavily consider the following advice:
- Invest in efficient, eco-friendly public transportation systems
- Improve traffic management
- Use eco-friendly products
- Start using renewable energy sources
- Promote recycling and reusing of wastes
- Decrease the use of pesticides
- Prevent water wastage
- Further plantation of trees
- Avoid deforestation and the destruction of habitats
- Treatment of sewage
- Removing solids before entering the environment
- Use of Ecosan toilets
There are positive signs from everywhere in the world that the COVID-19 lockdown is improving ecological conditions including the air and water quality, causing a huge decrease in PM2.5, NO2 and CO2 concentrations which results in a significant improvement in the overall environment.
If you are interested in learning more about the environment, join our school club: EnviroKnights!
SourcesX. Dong, YY. Cao, and DA. Geier MR. Geier. “COVID-19 Pandemic and Its Positive Impacts on Environment: An Updated Review.” International Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 1 Jan. 2021, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs13762-020-03021-3