Coronavirus quarantine causes positive benefits for environment


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This detailed graph shows the Nitrogen dioxide emissions in China in Jan. and Feb. before and after the coronavirus outbreak. The picture in Feb. had a drastic reduction in Nitrogen dioxide levels in the air due to people being quarantined.

Paige Sanders, Photography Editor-in-Chief

The coronavirus outbreak has caused a halt on many public events, sports, and even schools. With the spread of the virus across the states, people have been quarantined in their homes for weeks to help contain and stop the spread of the virus. Furthermore, with many people being quarantined, there has been significant, positive benefits for the environment such as reduction in air pollution, which is a step forward in improving the health of the environment.

“I wish that thinking could be changed to ‘the only chance for a strong economy is a healthy environment’,” Andrew Weaver, environmental science teacher, said.

Cities around the world have been experiencing less traffic and congestion with the isolation of society caused from the outbreak. New York City has seen a drastic change in their carbon monoxide emissions mainly caused from vehicles.

“Traffic levels in the city were estimated to be down 35 percent compared with a year ago. Emissions of carbon monoxide, mainly due to cars and trucks, have fallen by around 50 percent for a couple of days this week according to researchers at Colombia University,” BBC reported.

Furthermore, China is the main country that has seen the most improvement in significant reduction in air pollution. With China being one of the largest countries with a high population and contribute to high pollution rates, it is crucial there has been a decrease in air pollution.

“Some reports estimate that China’s quarantine has saved more than 100 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions from entering the atmosphere-which is about the equivalent of what Chile produces in a year,” Good News Network reported.

In addition to a significant reduction in air pollution, the water that flows in the canals of Venice turned clear for the first time in years, and the fish are now visible and other aquatic animals have returned such as swans. The clearing of the canal water is said to be a result from people being quarantined and less pollution happening near the canals.

Senior Sophie Watkins said she saw on Instagram and other social media platforms about the clearing of the water in the Venice canals and it puts into perspective how people are actually impacting the earth by being quarantined.

I think the future of the environment will be improved because right now, not a lot of people are out and about in their cars.”

— Taylor Venancio

The coronavirus brought a lot of negativity int0 the world. However, the improvement in the health of the environment is something positive that has resulted from the outbreak. People seeing the improvements made in the environment such as less air pollution, will cause people to want to contribute to helping the environment further improve.

“Maybe, individuals will see the value of a beautiful park while walking or running and be more inclined to act locally with fewer trips, smart shopping, and general concern,” Weaver said.

There are additional benefits the environment has seen from people being quarantined. These benefits include improved health of the ocean and coral reefs, and some global temperatures decreasing.

“Other areas that may see a hidden benefit from less travel during Corona are a return to more typical temps in polar regions, oceans making a gain in absorbed CO2 and doing so under less acidic conditions, less acid in the ocean would help coral reefs, fewer bird collisions with less lighting in big cities and car collisions, fewer invasive species transported by people during travel. The big driver is LESS CO2 in the atmosphere,” Weaver said.

No matter how long people will be in quarantine, there is hope the future environment will improve across the globe and people will see the good things going on in the environment and will want to protect it at all costs.

Senior Taylor Venancio said, “I think the future of the environment will be improved because right now, not a lot of people are out and about in their cars and contributing to air pollution, and I think overall pollution across the globe will decrease.”