Covid-19 has affected our lives on a global scale. From Global Economy to mental health, this ongoing pandemic has impacted multiple facets of our lives.
But how did Coronavirus affect our environment?
Without researching much, it is quite easy to say that most effects and impacts on the environment have been positive. Our perception and thinking might be based on the fact that humans, in general, have stopped going out.
This, while true, does not show and highlight many key aspects of the environmental impact that this pandemic has had. Especially the negative effects that this pandemic is having on our environment protection plans.
Let us look at some positive as well as negative impacts of Covid-19 on our environment
POSITIVE IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON ENVIRONMENT
- Improved Air Quality
Due to the pandemic, workplaces, including industries and factories, were closed. The sudden stop at the factories has helped the world to heal from the damage caused by these factories.
The harmful and environment-degrading emissions from these factories were no longer affecting the air quality. As a result, Harmful chemicals present in the air have been reduced significantly.
The air quality improved significantly as the pollution decreased during the lockdown. This was perceived to be a positive impact on the environment. While this has an immediate impact, it did not last long as more and more industries continued their operations.
- Environmental Healing
We as humans depend on countless natural resources (including Air, Water, land, etc.) for our survival. But we have accepted and taken it for granted that we can use these resources to our heart’s content.
But with global lockdown, there was an impact, albeit a short-term impact, on these resources. Water resources such as lakes, rivers cleansed themselves.
There was a considerable reduction of noise due to industries and traffic, allowing other organisms to proliferate.
There was also significant restoration of various natural resources. With less consumption and access to these resources, there was a significant reduction of humans’ negative impact.
- Reduced Carbon Emission
This goes without saying, our carbon emissions were quite low. This not only helped our forests; the overall ecological damage was being recovered due to these low emissions.
- Reduced fuel Consumption
Although only for a short time, reliance on fossil fuels had significantly reduced. Like the other positive impacts, this was only limited to global lockdown periods. Marked by record-low fuel costs, our consumption had taken a hit, helping reduce our carbon footprint.
NEGATIVE IMPACTS ON ENVIRONMENT BY COVID-19
- Increased bio-waste
It should be abundantly clear by now that wearing masks and other protective equipment meant that there would be an increase in plastic as hazardous waste.
While medical institutions and the healthcare sector can deal with such bio-waste, most nations, especially developing nations, don’t have a proper recycling structure. This will evidently lead to increased bio-waste production.
Unless and until there is a proper system for regulating the waste and its degradation, we will only see increased micro-plastic and hazardous waste negatively affecting our environment.
- Adverse Ecological Damage
As expected, increased bio-waste production will harm the very same resources that were healing. Water resources, Land, and even air might be severely impacted depending on recycling policies. With improper and ineffective recycling, we might end causing more long-term harm than short-term positive benefits.
- Long term usage
Perhaps one of the most dangerous aspects of Covid-19 has been its longevity. Compared to the short-term benefits, the long-term after-effects of Covid-19 managements might leave a big gap in our environmental protection policies.
Sadly, organic and hazardous waste management is something that only the medical industry has been burdened with. On a much more personal level, segregation and recycling have taken a back seat. Changing protective gear, masks, gloves is necessary.
- Chemical Degradation
While it is not a severe or a major impact, sanitization can be quite damaging. While it is necessary and beneficial for stopping the spread of the virus, a lot of these chemicals can damage the delicate balance of our ecosystem. Due to non-harmful species being affected.
Not to mention widespread sanitation programs might contaminate soil and water resources if not carried out effectively.
There are many positive and negative impacts of Covid-19, which we have seen during this pandemic. If we need to reduce the impact on our environment, we will have to develop long-term strategies.
Unlike the positive effects, the negative effects are not short-term and will impact our planet much more harmful. The restoration and healing process will not be that quick, and soon the negatives will outweigh the positives. Nevertheless, this means that we know how and when to formulate our policies to combat these effects.