As Work from Home becomes the new norm, 23% of carbon emissions have dropped globally just because of a decrease in transportation.
Here are few positive as well as negative impacts the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the environment.
- Positive impact of the pandemic on the environment
- There is more freshwater available
As the majority of industries have reduced activities, the water consumption of the industrial sector has decreased to about 20-30%. The hotels and health clubs are not functioning to full capacity either, hence a decrease in water consumption has been observed. It has also been noted that people tend to be more efficient with water at home than hotels and resorts.
- The vegetation is growing better
Due to less human interference, plants are exposed to better air quality and clean water. The amount of oxygen and other nutrients required for their growth are not polluted and hence allow plants to grow.
- Reduction of air pollution
A drop of 25% in carbon dioxide emissions along with 40% in nitrogen oxide emissions was
observed in Italy during the self-isolation period. Energy-related CO2 emissions in India is on track with value 1.8 as per SDG report 2020. Air quality improved because of a reduction in road traffic, air traffic, and factory emissions of carbon dioxide, Nitrogen oxide and particular matter formation.
- Decreasing demand for oil
Due to the decrease in fuel demands for factories and travel, there has been a sharp decline by 435,000 barrels a day in the first quarter of 2020, due to the pandemic. Oil pollution also harms animals and insects, disrupts the food chain, and prevents photosynthesis in plants. Oil contamination can make water unsuitable for irrigation and damage irrigation plants.
- Negative impacts of the pandemic on the environment
- Increasing organic waste
Due to a sharp decline in the cargo transportation services, the export and import of various essential commodities have come to a standstill.
- Waste management is getting difficult
Garbage contaminated with Medical waste has increased. There has been no evidence related to human contact of waste leading to the transmission of the virus. Many local waste recycling centers have suspended their activities
over the fear of virus circulation in the recycling centres.
Increasing non-recyclable waste
With increasing home deliveries during the lockdown, meals and online shopping surged which requires a lot of plastic packaging. Production and disposal of surgical masks, gloves, protective equipment and body bags have increased due to the COVID-19 crisis but all the waste generated ends up adding on the landfills and the environment.
Ecosystem at risk – Illegal deforestation, fishing and wildlife
Environment protection workers at national parks, land, marine conservation zones were required to stay at home during lockdown resulting in leaving these areas unmonitored. The decline in ecotourism activity has led to an increase in unemployment in the regions frequented by tourists.