Image created by L. Toman
Although the outbreak of COVID-19 has caused worldwide panic and fear, there has been a silver lining. There have been major impacts on the environment during this short time in quarantine. While humans have been inside, the outdoors are thriving and giving us a preview of what can happen if we work together to help our environment.
One of the main impacts that scientists have seen is a major drop in air pollution in more populated parts of the globe. China, one of the world’s biggest polluters, has reported a significant drop in nitrogen dioxide due to the lack of cars on the road, factory work, and airplane emissions. This gas is a serious air pollutant and can cause many health problems and respiratory issues. Satellite imagery from NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) has been seen by many experts as “the largest scale experiment ever” in terms of reduction in emissions around the world. Another unexpected impact has been the cleaning of oceans, rivers, and canals. One of the most famous of these canals being in Venice, Italy. Since the quarantine lockdown, tourism in Venice has almost completely diminished and as a result, the canals are the cleanest they have been in years. Without people using the canal for constant transport, sediment churning and pollution has gone down so much that people are starting to see life. People have reported seeing fish and seaweed in the canals for the first time in years.