The coronavirus pandemic has been a tense time for people all over the world.
We’ve been exposed to enforced lock-downs, restrictions, and illness, plus the media has been saturated with negative, panic-inducing news – so we figured it was about time someone shared some good news from COVID-19!
With a large percentage of the human population keeping to themselves indoors, the natural environment has flourished – from cleaner air and water to more freedom for our wildlife in urban areas, Mother Nature is taking a breath of fresh air while we work towards ending the COVID-19 virus.
It’s an incredible time for environmental change – in this blog, we share three unbelievable developments from the last couple of months to celebrate!
#1. Improvement in air quality around the world
Image: The Weather Channel
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), air pollution kills seven million people each year, making it a global public health crisis in itself. However, over the last month of lock-down, some of the world’s most polluted cities like New Delhi, Seoul, Wuhan, and Mumbai have seen a massive decrease in air pollution.
Levels of PM 2.5 (a harmful microscopic particulate matter which can become lodged in the lungs and enter the organs or bloodstream) have decreased 60% year-on-year in New Dehli – an unprecedented decrease – and for the first time in decades, the people of India can see the Himalayan Mountains.
This is a direct result of the closure of factories, markets, shops, and the suspension of most public transport services as the people of India settle in for a long period of self-isolation.
There has also been a 44% decrease in air pollution year-on-year in the Chinese city of Wuhan where the virus first broke out. These effects have been seen throughout China and can even be seen from space.
While closing factories and suspending public transport isn’t a sustainable solution for climate change, air pollution researchers and academics are urging governments around the world to take on “green deals” and shift towards sustainable power and cleaner transportation methods like walking and cycling.
“In our recovery from the pandemic, it’s important that we strive to preserve the cleaner environment, which protects our health from another invisible killer, air pollution,” IQAir’s marketing specialist, Kelsey Duska, said.
The effects around Australia can also be seen from space.
Image: The Conversation
#2. Carbon emissions heading for a 6% annual drop
With millions of people self-isolating around the world, the need to commute and travel has decreased, meaning levels of common air pollutants from car exhaust and fossil fuels have decreased, too.
Now, it’s projected there will be an annual 6% decrease in carbon dioxide emissions – an incredible result considering the rapid acceleration of climate change over the last 50 years. Since the first Earth Day in 1970, carbon dioxide levels have gone up a whopping 26% and the average temperature of the earth has increased 0.68 degrees.
While the decrease in carbon dioxide emissions has seen cleaner air and water around the world (like Venice, India, and Wuhan, for example), Professor Petteri Taalas – the Secretary-General World Meteorological Organization (WMO) – said this is “short term good news”.
Greenhouse gases can stay in the atmosphere and oceans for centuries – and according to Professor Taalas “this means that the world is committed to continued climate change regardless of any temporary fall in emissions due to the Coronavirus epidemic”.
If we want to see ongoing change, we need to act now and commit to a cleaner, more sustainable lifestyle.
#3. Clean water in Venice due to the travel ban
When the lock-down was put in place, people’s travel plans were cancelled around the world – a huge disappointment for avid globe-trotters, but there’s a silver lining to every story.
High-traffic tourist destinations have seen an incredible improvement in both air and water quality, including the breathtaking city of Venice. After China, Italy has been one of the worst countries to be impacted by COVID-19 and travel bans have been in place since mid-March.
Thanks to fewer tourists taking boat-rides around the city, Venice’s locals have noticed the canals have become much clearer and small fish can be seen swimming around – sometimes even dolphins!
good news: due to a dramatic decrease in pollution caused by the quarantine, the water in the venice canals is currently clean for the first time in 60 years!! pic.twitter.com/rYBQS3jSzx
— ♡dorochu💫 (@yagefudo) March 17, 2020
“The water now looks clearer because there is less traffic on the canals, allowing the sediment to stay at the bottom,” a spokesperson from the mayor’s office said.
The clean canals is a sight for sore eyes – especially considering the flash floods in November 2019 and the ongoing issues with over-tourism in the area.
It’s time to make meaningful change – and it all starts with you
We’ve seen some unbelievable environmental changes over the last couple of months – and there’s a thing or two we can learn from this experience to make our world a better place.
While our governments need to take a cleaner, greener approach to power production and managing carbon dioxide emissions, there are things we can do as individuals to help make a difference, too, like swapping public transport and fuel-guzzling vehicles for walking and cycling, or ditching plastic for bio-degradable solutions and keeping our oceans clean.
As an ecommerce business owner, you can make a difference, too. Ecommerce businesses go through a lot of rubbish and distribute parcels around the country (or even the world) in plastic parcel bags and un-sustainable packaging. By swapping to biodegradable parcel bags and packing solutions, you can help reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in landfills and our oceans.
Plus, you can also make a difference by choosing a carbon neutral certified courier service like Transdirect. We recently became carbon neutral certified because we want future generations to live in a healthy, sustainable environment and show our customers we actively care about the environment.