COVID-19 Might Be Helping the Environment

COVID-19

Though the COVID-19 is running rampant throughout the world, it has shown to have some unexpected effects on the world’s climate. From California to Italy and China there have been visible changes among air quality as well as cleaner waterways.

Can This Be True?

In recent studies of how COVID-19 effects pollution quality, researchers have found that there has been less pollution emitted in waterways and the air. This is being attributed to the fact that people have been quarantined, therefore, fewer toxins are released into the atmosphere. At the beginning of March 2020, scientists in China discovered some of their skies were clearer.

At that time, they saw their air pollution levels drop by about a quarter over a months time. China’s industrial factories, coal-fed factories, and power plants slowed down their business, so people in high-risk areas can stay safe at home.

In Addition to China, Is There Other Evidence?

In Italy, researchers have found their air quality has improved. It has also been noted that with canals being vacant due to COVID-19, its waterways appear to be clearer. Officials have admitted that it is true; the water does look clearer. However, this does not mean the water has necessarily improved in quality. The COVID-19 virus has made all citizens stay inside and practice social distancing.

Director of assessment, inventory, and modeling at the Bay Area Air Quality Management District in San Francisco, California, Phil Martien stated, “We are seeing clean air quality right now. When we look at our measurements, it is below what we were seeing a few weeks ago.” It is still early to fully tell if shelter-in-place orders are truly helping the environment. These orders were only placed a few days ago.

Is There Other Evidence of This?

Scientists have seen 70 percent less traffic. Motor vehicles are accountable for 30 percent of the soot that is in the air. With less traffic, the tiny soot particles have declined by 20 percent. Furthermore, chemicals that are emitted into the air from burning fuel (causes smog), have been lowered by almost 40 percent. Carbon dioxide has dropped roughly 20 percent in the San Fransico area since people have been quarantined due to COVID-19.

The COVID-19 virus may be wreaking havoc for humans, but it has been a bit helpful on the world’s environment. There are over 500, 000 active cases of COVID-19 worldwide. Over 22,000 deaths have occurred due to COVID-19. At least 121,000 people have recovered from the COVID-19 virus.

By Sheena Robertson

Sources:

Mercy News: Coronavirus: Bay Area air quality is improving as people stay home
NPR: Why China’s Air Has Been Cleaner During The Coronavirus Outbreak
Mercy News: Re-emerging wildlife, clean air shows how Earth heals
NBC: The water in Venice, Italy’s canals is running clear amid the COVID-19 lockdown — take a look
The Hill: As Italy quarantines over coronavirus, misleading reports of swans and dolphins in Venice canals go viral

Image Courtesy of Bernd Thaller’s Flicker Page – Creative Commons License

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