How to maintain the eco-impact of the Coronavirus

Positive environmental effects due to the Covid pandemic

With humanity spending more time indoors during lock down, we noticed an immediate eco-impact: the waterways and rivers in the world look cleaner, the air fresher, the smog gone, the haze dispersed and the wildlife has filled the open spaces. We explore some of the positive effects on the environment due to Covid and a few ideas on how to maintain it in the world post-pandemic.

Whilst the Coronavirus has been devastating for many, one aspect of our lives that it has had more positive effect on is the state of our climate. It is hard to forget the jaw-dropping sights that were televised at the beginning of global lockdowns- we saw the water in Venice run completely clear and the skies in China empty of fog. It took the complete lockdown of human activity to show just how much damage we are doing to our planet. 

Covid-19 helped our planet in many ways: the production of goods decreased to meet social distancing measures which meant that fewer fumes were being released into the atmosphere, people were stuck at home so the number of cars on the roads burning Co2 decreased and furlough gave many people the opportunity to create sustainable products that had been sitting in the back of their minds prior to the pandemic. 

How to maintain the eco-impact of the Coronavirus
NO2 emissions in China before and after lockdown. (ESA 2020)
How to maintain the eco-impact of the Coronavirus
The concentrations of nitrogen dioxide over Europe from 13 March till 13 April 2020, compared to the average concentrations from March–April, 2019
How to maintain the eco-impact of the Coronavirus
The concentration of ozone over Arctic regions in March 12, 2019 (a) in comparison with March 12, 2020 (b)

It is clear that coronavirus has helped us to realise the dire state of our planet, so what can we do to maintain the eco-impact of the coronavirus?

Use alternative methods of travel

One of the main contributors to the pandemic’s impact on the environment is the decrease in cars on the roads that has had a positive effect on the amount of Co2 that is released into the atmosphere. The government asked all those that could, to work from home and put a ban on travelling for leisure. Surveys have shown that car usage during the lockdown was at just 45% of usual levels (BBC News)- decreasing by over half! 

Just because the pandemic is nearing an end, does not mean that we have to go back to our usual rates of traffic again. To help maintain the eco-impact, you should consider using alternative modes of transport that are more sustainable than using a car. These could include using a bike, walking or even using public transport. Busses could replace up to 100 cars on the road (quora.com), making them a much more sustainable way to travel long distances. 

Up and down the country, coach tours also offer people the option to travel to popular destinations for a low price and can result in less vehicles on the road – the perfect eco-friendly transport method for a UK staycation. If you are wanting to make your transport greener, this is a great option for you. 

6 Green lessons we’ve learnt from COVID-19

Shop sustainably 

There has been a noticeable rise in sustainable brands appearing in the marketplace since the lockdown. Since we were made aware of the catastrophic effects that our behaviours are having on the environment, many people decided to use their time off during lockdown to their businesses and give them an eco-friendly makeover. 

It is thought that ¾ UK businesses are considering becoming more environmentally friendly as a result of the impact of Covid-19 (edie.net). This means that there are now more options than ever when shopping around for services or goods to choose sustainable, green companies. Choosing these companies over those who are not sustainable, will help to keep them running and support their mission to go green! 

If we are all loyal to green companies and reduce our purchases from those that aren’t sustainable, more and more businesses will be forced to consider their impact on the environment and go green. 

Create more natural spaces

With lockdown restrictions closing entertainment facilities and shopping centres and preventing people from meeting indoors, millions of people have started spending more time in nature. An estimated 45% of people in the UK spent more time in nature during lockdown (countryside-jobs.com). 

The popularity of nature during lockdown increased awareness of the damage that we are doing to our natural spaces. Every year, more and more green land is being replaced for building sites and natural spaces are being contaminated with litter and chemical spillages. Natural, green spaces are incredibly important for keeping the balance of oxygen in our atmosphere and for providing shelter to wild animals. 

10 Positive Lessons Learned from COVID19

We need to restore many of the habitats that have been lost due to our actions. To do this, we should begin planting trees and shrubbery wherever we can, encouraging people to pick up litter from natural spaces and recycle materials so that deforestation can decrease and new trees can grow. Maintaining our earth’s habitats will not only help the climate, but it will restore nature back into our country for future generations to admire.  

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Evelyn James

Evelyn James is an emerging freelance writer who's passionate about environmental issues and sustainable living. Since the start of lockdown, she's been creating content that she hopes people will find valuable. When she isn't writing, she can be found either out hiking up mountains or curled up with tea and chocolate.

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