COVID-19, a virus that seems to have spread like wildfire across the globe, has scared the best of us. Throughout the world, governments of various countries have imposed restrictions such as curfews and lock downs to encourage social distancing and contain the pandemic that is COVID-19. Images of empty streets and roads have flooded the news and social media. In these times of havoc where nothing seems to be going our way, and while we remain quarantined within our homes, the environment is reaping benefits!
One of the first accounts of environmental improvement has been from China, where no cars are allowed on the streets. Residents of Wuhan have reported the return of the blue skies, which were usually grey because of the air pollution. NASA has even reported that there has been a decrease in Nitrogen Dioxide levels above China, captured through satellite images.
Many people across Italy shared photographs of water in the canals of Venice, which are now absolutely clear. So much so that ducks and swans are appearing on these waters, and even the small fish are visible! This is apparently the first time in years that the water has been this clean. Venice also has dolphins reaching the harbours, playing without human disturbance.
In India too, the air quality seems to have improved, as Delhi seems to be witnessing blue skies and very minimal movement on the roads due to the complete lockdown of the country. People are posting images and videos of blooming flowers and chirping birds, a sight which was rare earlier. Since the environment is largely remaining undisturbed because of the quarantining and social distancing, we can bear witness to the improvements.
We always knew that human activity was the reason for environmental degradation, to the extent that we are in the middle of a climate crisis, which brings upon us an impending doom. However, these few weeks of quarantining human beings within the precincts of their households and disbanding all activity due to a pandemic has really helped put things into perspective, at least in the question of the environment.
The COVID-19 has caused a lot of discomfort and anxiety across the world. However, bluer skies are the silver linings in the times of a pandemic!