Looking at COVID-19 through an environmental lens

The current coronavirus pandemic has drastically changed all our lives. With empty skies, empty offices and empty streets millions upon millions of lives have been put on hold to help control the spread of the virus. But what effect has this had on our planet?

With economic activity decreasing in many countries, so have carbon emissions. This global pandemic has improved the air quality in many cities around the world as well as a reduction in the level of water pollution in some parts of the globe. Another environmental impact of COVID-19 has been observed in Italy with clear water and fish seen once again in the canals of Venice. The question we should consider is how long this decarbonized economy will last. Surely when lockdown subsides and our lives resume back to normal, carbon and pollutant emissions will skyrocket again.

Another aspect we should reflect upon is the connection between respiratory health, air pollution and COVID-19. Areas with high levels of air pollution are perceived as a key link with COVID-19 deaths due to more people suffering from respiratory/cardio-pulmonary diseases. Since air pollution particles may be acting as a vehicle for viral transmission it is important to implement sustainable practices to prevent pollution levels from rising again.

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