Environment Benefits from Corona Pandemic

While coronavirus continues to take its toll on the human population, so far, it has been proven beneficial for the environment. With many businesses as well as most leisure and recreational destinations closed, people have fewer reasons to drive or fly.

This has led to “significant decreases” in air pollution, according to ABC News’ “How Coronavirus Impacts Climate Change with Emissions Reductions.”

As a result, air quality has improved in many notoriously polluted places around the world. Freshman Elizabeth Chien, who flew to Taiwan for family reasons and is currently there under quarantine, said, “I actually think the coronavirus has reduced the pollution because people aren’t going out.”

The majority of the environmental effects of the coronavirus have been positive, but it remains to be seen whether or not these changes to human behavior will continue once the pandemic has subsided. Environmental Club president and ASB Commissioner of Sustainability, senior Alexandra Yokomizo said, “Though I hope that the effects will be long-lasting, I think humans will resume their usual activities once this is over and maybe even increase their efforts. These efforts will come at the expense of the environment.”

“We can only hope that the first-hand experience of what can happen in the absence of humans will change people’s minds and attitudes,” added Yokomizo.

In Italy, typically murky canal waters are clearing as a result of the decline in boat traffic. Additionally, animal life in the same waterways is increasing. One article, “Venice Canals Run Clear, Dolphins Appear in Italy’s Waterways amid Coronavirus Lockdown,” by Classic fM, a national radio network of the United Kingdom, reported that the waters have never been clearer.

With the reduction in human activity, animal life is thriving around the globe. According to an article by Return to Now, a nature publication, 70,000 endangered olive ridley sea turtles were successfully able to lay their eggs along the beaches in India without tourists getting in the way. Normally, this is a huge tourist attraction, which poses a threat to the turtles, but the lockdown has given them a chance to thrive.

While these changes to the environment have been beneficial, AP Environmental Science teacher Tren Kauzer noted, “Many of the changes to the environment are ‘positive’, but we cannot overlook the loss of human life that is occurring because of this pandemic and humans are part of the environment.”

Although most of the environmental changes aren’t occuring in America, Chien added, “I think that learning about the positive effects helps [students] cope with our present reality. A lot of us are in isolation and without having the usual support from friends and teachers or coworkers, having a positive outlook gives [us] hope.”