The Coronavirus Quarantines Are Helping to Heal the Planet
There's no denying the severity of the novel coronavirus.
With the number of new cases on the rise, we're all doing our part to stop the spread by washing our hands properly and staying home. It isn't, but these isolating times have done quite a bit of good for Mother Nature.
According to climate scientist Prof. Katharine Hayhoe, "[quarantine] is already slashing fossil fuel use and corresponding carbon and air pollution emissions in China, Italy and beyond."
In Italy especially, residents have noticed a drastic difference in air and water quality. Pollution has dropped, allowing the waters in Venice to run clearer than they have in quite some time.
NASA and the European Space Agency have been monitoring pollution and noticed a significant decrease in the nitrogen dioxide levels over the past few months. Nitrogen dioxide is a huge cause of poor air quality, leading to respiratory problems in humans. So a decline in the noxious gas can potentially lead to improved lung function.
We can't forget to mention that air pollution is responsible for around eight million deaths per year, with about half of that being due to outdoor air pollution.
As we stay cooped up inside with just about everything shut down, the earth is finding ways to heal itself. While this may fix the air quality for now, it may only be short-term. Once activity increases outside homes, air pollution will return.
Scientists are hoping understanding this will shift our priorities once the pandemic has calmed down enough to rebuild economies.
Jacqueline Klopp, co-director of the Center for Sustainable Urban Development at Columbia University in New York City, told NBC News, "As we move to restart these economies, we need to use this moment to think about what we value. Do we want to go back to the status quo, or do we want to tackle these big structural problems and restructure our economy and reduce emissions and pollution?"
We're hoping everyone opts for the latter.
With travel coming to a halt, now's the perfect time to head out on a virtual vacation. Discover how to plan one HERE.