Pollution levels decline as human activities come to a halt

Nature is thriving amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as the majority of human activities come to a halt

Pollution levels decline as human activities come to a halt
Now the question is how to maintain the benefits of temporarily halting human activities - Photo: File Photo/EL UNIVERSAL
English 03/05/2020 10:57 Mexico City Editorial Actualizada 11:14

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Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, lockdowns, and temporary halt of human activities, the sky has cleared, wild animals can be seen roaming around cities, plants are growing in the middle of urban settings, and we can now perceive nature around us.

One of the most symbolic images of the planet’s recovery is that of dolphins in the Acapulco bay, creating a bioluminescence phenomenon while they swam in the Pacific. This phenomenon would be impossible in normal circumstances, as the port is usually crowded with tourists, ships, and pollution.

Amid the halt of human activities, the world has registered an 8% decrease in CO2 emissions, and although it might not seem much, this change is enough to improve air quality. However, the impact is more evident in regions such as China, branded the most polluted country in the world, which reduced pollution by 18%, which equals 250 million tons of CO2. Meanwhile, Europe foresees a 24% decrease in CO2 emissions. By the end of the pandemic, the U.S. expects to decrease its CO2 emissions by 600 million tons.

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Nevertheless, despite these surprising numbers, a poll among the Dutch reveals pessimism among them, who think that not everything is as positive as celebrated by environmental activists and that the COVID-19 pandemic will have a negative effect on the goals of international organizations, especially while there are no policies that favor clean industry over traditional industries.

Now the question is how to maintain the benefits of temporarily halting human activities, how to maintain this balance?. With lockdowns, it was proven that reducing human activities had an immediate impact and benefited the environment. So when we compare halting human activities to a crisis, we must stop focusing on the economy and also consider the positive effects it had on the environment. This could be the start of new environmental policies

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