Coronavirus has brought the world down on its knees. This pandemic has caused around 81,049 deaths so far and billions have been affected. We are facing a major crisis and the anxiety and paranoia are off charts. While the impact of coronavirus has been mostly negative, it has reduced the amount of pollution greatly and the environment is flourishing.
This reduced amount of pollution all around the world is the result of lockdowns in almost every country because of coronavirus panedmic. Air quality has improved in nations around the world from Italy to China, as much transport and industry has stopped.
In Wuhan, where this outbreak initiated back in December, the sky has turned blue, earlier it was home to dangerous air pollution levels. The change has been attributed to travel bans and the pause of factory work.
Italy has also seen a considerable drop in the air pollutant nitrogen dioxide between January and March. India, which has 21 of the world’s 30 most polluted cities, has also seen a significant drop in air pollution.
According to reports, the main cities are recording much lower levels of harmful microscopic particulate matter known as PM 2.5, and of nitrogen dioxide, which is released by vehicles and power plants. Nitrogen dioxide went from 52 per cubic meter to 15 in the same period, also a 71% fall. Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Bangalore have also recorded a fall in these air pollutants.
“I have not seen such blue skies in Delhi for the past 10 years,” said Jyoti Pande Lavakare, the co-founder of Indian environmental organization Care for Air, and author of the upcoming book “Breathing Here is Injurious To Your Health.”
In Venice, there have been reports of people witnessing dolphins, school fish and even swans in the canals. This is a result of decreased water traffic from boats and cruise ships.
VIDEO: Venice canals clearer due to lack of tourists and traffic pic.twitter.com/ZQDNlZ3v3k
— AFP news agency (@AFP) March 19, 2020
In India, Ganga River has seen significant improvement due to reduction in the dumping of industrial waste into it. According to the data provided by the Central Pollution Control Board, Ganga river water was found to be suitable for bathing at most monitoring centres. According to the real-time water monitoring data of the CPCB, out of the 36 monitoring units placed at various points of the Ganga river, the water quality around 27 points was suitable for bathing and propagation of wildlife and fisheries.
1/10th of the pollution in Ganga river comes from industries, as industries are shut due to lockdown, situation has become better. We've seen 40-50% improvement in Ganga, it's a significant development: Dr PK Mishra, Professor at Chemical Engineering&Technology, IIT-BHU #Varanasi pic.twitter.com/bbE7mPcR5l
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) April 4, 2020
Earlier, the river water was found to be unfit for bathing, the whole way till it drains into the Bay of Bengal, leaving stretches in Uttarakhand and a couple of places as the river water enters Uttar Pradesh.
“The improvement that is visible needs to be validated with proper data. It is a very good time for CPCB to study the level of pollution coming from the industry. It is a very good time to set up a baseline,” said Environmentalist Manoj Misra.
Environmentalist Vikrant Tongad said that the improvement has been seen mostly in the industrial clusters which used to see huge pollution levels due to dumping by industries. “The organic pollution level still gets diluted in the river but it is the chemical pollution by industries that destroy the river’s self-cleaning properties. The self-cleaning properties have improved due to which the water quality has improved,” he added.
“As humans everywhere are forced to self-isolate due to the coronavirus pandemic, lowering pollution levels have led to the unexpected prevailing of nature.”
It is almost unbelievable to see how, in such a short time, nature can heal itself from the atrocities of humans and it is not the United Nations but coronavirus that has brought pollution levels down. Hopefully, we all can rethink our actions and try to be more environment friendly once the pandemic is over.