City dwellers have always yearned for a break, to head out to be amidst nature and enjoy scenic surroundings. What are weekends for after all? But, with the lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak, going out for anything is uncertain. While we wait patiently for the grey clouds to pass, mother nature is on an all-time high out there; she’s thriving in ways we failed to accept.
Emerson once quoted, “When nature has work to be done, she creates a genius to do it.” In a way, the coronavirus is nature’s genius, even if it is a threat to the humankind. Because of the pandemic, we happened to take a huge step that’s leaving nature unruffled. So, how exactly is Mother Nature reclaiming what she lost pre-coronavirus disease? Let’s find out!
It doesn’t take a lot to understand that our movement affects everything around us, including nature. With several countries practising self-isolation and social distancing, our whereabouts are controlled and that’s benefiting mother nature in the following ways.
1. Cleaner Air
Remember the days when environmental activists recommended, protested and even begged everyone to opt for effective ways to reduce carbon emission in the air? Well, few considered the thought and took measures, but it barely made a difference. Now, with the lockdown, we are being forced to limit most of our activities to home. Thus, the emission of carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide due to the combustion of fossil fuels, especially in vehicles, power plants and several industries has gown down.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the European Space Agency (ESA) had recently compared the levels of nitrogen dioxide in Europe and China before and after the quarantine and reported a drastic decline. Several other countries have also noticed a significant improvement in the air quality index, indicating we can breathe in fresh air despite living in concrete jungles, and avoid premature deaths due to harmful particulate matter.
2. Cleaner Water
The reason why we say ‘cleaner water’ and not ‘clean water’ is because all the activities that lead to water pollution in general, like runoff from urban, agricultural, and industrial areas, and dumping of sewage and other waste material in the water, hasn’t stopped completely yet. What has stopped, even though temporarily, is water transportation of all sorts – cruises, container shipment, local boats, ferries, etc. Also, several attractions like the beaches, rivers, and canals have fewer or no visitors because tourism is on hold. The outcome – a small but noticeable improvement in the level of water pollution.
Take Venice, for example. The city has witnessed cleaner canals and a slight improvement in aquatic life. Check out this video to see what differences locals noticed in the city of canals after the lockdown.
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Residents of Venice are noticing a vast improvement in the quality of the famous canals that run through the city because of the coronavirus lockdown. A drastic drop in water traffic means sediment in the canals has been able to settle. As a result the waters are running clear for the first time in years and fish can even be seen in the usually murky waters. #venice #italy #coronavirus #bbcnews
3. Lowered Decibels
Yes, we know, some houses have people who love chattering, but that’s not what we’re referring to here. The chattering of choughs that we’re talking about is the human-made noises we made or heard every single day before the quarantine. There is a significant decrease in the noise levels ever since restrictions have been imposed on the road, air and rail traffic, on factories, and on public gatherings.
Human-made noises, when they exceed a certain level, can impact the lives of terrestrial, avian and aquatic animals. They can interfere with the movement of whales and dolphins, who communicate through echolocation and disturb the birds when they are nesting. Since several countries have put a stop on venturing outdoors, the noise pollution has also decreased. While you’re at it, why not remove the headphone and take a moment to hear the birdsong?
These are some beautiful ways mother nature has been replenishing since the coronavirus outbreak. Of course, there are other types of pollutions, like soil, light, thermal, and radioactive pollution that continue to harm her. And, we can do something about it if we look at this lockdown as an opportunity to search for ways to conserve her. It might be too early to predict long-term climatic changes with the current observations, but it just might be possible!