Coronavirus Outbreak: Is it actually a blessing in disguise?

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Coronavirus has spread like wildfire all over the world. With the virus now affecting more than 170 countries, it feels as if the whole world has been turned upside down. Countries have gone under lockdown, people have been isolated in their homes and quarantined and almost all social interactions have to come to a stop.

But even in these confusing and depressing times, positive things are still gracing the planet. These positives make one think if the virus is really a blessing in disguise for the planet. Whether this pandemic is actually doing more good than bad.

Let’s look at how coronavirus has been helping the environment and consequently, life on the planet:

Ways Coronavirus is Helping Life

1. Global Air Pollution Levels Plummet

Scientists claim that the lockdowns, due to coronavirus, have dramatically improved the air quality. Across the globe, countries have implemented measures to restrict public interactions including closing pubs, cancelling events and encouraging home working. Coronavirus outbreak has technically saved thousands of lives in China since its start due to the higher air quality. Since the outbreak began, the pollutant i.e. nitrogen dioxide (NO2) has decreased immensely over China. A similar pattern was observed with the CO2 levels and emissions, not only over China but all around the world due to the lockdowns.

Marshall Burke, a researcher at Stanford University, calculated that the improvements in air quality recorded in China may have saved the lives of 4,000 children under 5 years old and 73,000 adults over 70. In other words, this decline in air pollution is saving way more lives than the coronavirus is taking.

In the same way, this is also affecting Italy’s pollution levels and decreasing them greatly.
The top image from January shows high levels of NO2 over northern Italy. By March (bottom), that had almost disappeared 

2. Marine Life Returns to Italy

The whole country of Italy is under a strict quarantine due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Within a matter of weeks, the lack of busy commuters, frantic tourists, and noisy vehicles has already had a noticeable effect on the country’s biodiversity. Wildlife lovers have reported the return of animals to their canals and coastlines.

Venice’s (Venezia’s) canals, which are world-famous for being murky, have become clear enough to see the marine life.

As less sediment is being stirred up due to lack of boats, the water has become clear and once again, habitable. Small fish, white swans and other marine-life has been enjoying these still waters.

Elsewhere, a dolphin was seen playing around along a quay in Cagliari. While bottlenose dolphins are no strangers there, its rare to see them that close to the shores of the bustling port city as its typically jammed with freight ships and ferries.

3. Promotion of Telecommunication

Employers are promoting Telecommuting, or remote working i.e. working from home amid this crisis. Schools and colleges are shifting to virtual classes and offices and universities are switching to remote work in all areas possible. This was a change long overdue. This not only proves the internet’s worth as a utility instead of a luxury, but also shows that telecommuting is the way of the future.

Millions of people not expending fuels to travel to and from work will serve to greatly decrease pollution and serve to conserve the limited resources. Moreover, the disabled people can finally work somewhat comfortably. No doubt, it would have been a challenge for them to travel to and from work. Now, they can work from the comfort of their homes. Moreover, they will also be able to raise their voice after this crisis settles down so that remote work stays implemented for them in the future too.

4. Consumption of Fossil Fuels

According to sources, a 70% reduction in domestic flights along with a fall in old and steel production, contributed to the fall in emissions in China. But even more than that was the sharp decline in the country’s coal usage.

China used coal for 59% of its energy in 2018. It is used in running power plants and other heavy industries in China. The heat source for millions of homes in the rural areas of the country is also coal.

Myllyvirta (lead analyst at CREA) said;

“The largest consumers of coal — coal-fired power plants — have been affected a lot because electricity demand is down. I think it’s clear that this effect will continue for the next weeks and months, because there has also been a major impact on the demand side of the economy.”

Is coronavirus a blessing?

While its many pros can’t be ignored, its cons can’t be either. The poor, who live on day-to-day earnings, are especially suffering due to the lockdowns. Only time will tell whether this souvenir from Mother Earth is actually a blessing or a curse for humanity. Though, one thing is clear. The pandemic has revealed that the environment goes through several positive changes via nature when humans aren’t there to pollute it. Nature has blessed us with all the resources, how we use it is our responsibility. With everything that’s going on, it doesn’t look like we are doing a very good job at it.

 

Read also: Coronavirus In Pakistan: ADB & World Bank To Give $588 Million For Fight Against The Virus

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