by Amanda Lu ’22
As COVID-19 cases continue to fluctuate around the world, the effects of the outbreak differ. While the negative repercussions are evident, it is also important to take a look from another angle.
An immediate response to the pandemic weas lockdown; public areas, such as malls, restaurants, and educational facilities, were closed to hinder the spread of the virus.
As less people were seen outside, changes became evident in various aspects, especially in the climate and environment. Air pollution, for example, has reduced worldwide as a result. The lockdowns in China have resulted in a 50% reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions and a 25% decrease in carbon emissions. Truck and car exhaust are also causes of air pollution, and those activities have decreased due to quarantine. Airports, which studies have shown to be one of the main sources of releasing nitrogen dioxide (as it is released when fuel is burned in vehicles), have closed down.
Carbon dioxide (CO2), a primary greenhouse gas emitted through human activities, has gone down by an estimate of a billion tonnes- a historic record set in only a few months. At this rate, the International Energy Agency (IEA) claims that the world will use 6% less carbon dioxide in 2020. Lockdowns have lessened the global demand for electricity by more than 20%, and in a full year, it will drop by 5%. This is the biggest drop since the 1930s, during the Great Depression.
Although the world may seem like a gloomy place right now, it is also important to look at the bright side of things. We should use this as an opportunity to revitalize our environment and climate, while also supporting those serving on the frontlines of the pandemic.