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Dhaka Friday,  Sep 17, 2021

Corona virus: Curse or Blessing to Environment

Ifrat Rahman

The Earth is facing a major and largely unforeseen global challenge that distresses people in all corners of the world. The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting every one of our national sectors across the globe, whether directly or indirectly .It is generating significant impact on environment.
Pros and cons of corona virus on environment
While the world struggles with the coronavirus, the pandemic is having some unpredictable but positive side effects. The slowdown in human activity due to the pandemic, has so far been shown to have had an optimistic influence on the planet.
Pros :A immense drop in pollution and greenhouse gases have now been recorded in China, where the first cases of corona virus were detected. Satellite images on NASA’s website show how the decrease in industrial, business and transportation activity between January and February 2020 has reduced the levels of atmospheric nitrogen dioxide (No2) first in Wuhan and then crosswise the country.
“This is the first time I have seen such a dramatic drop-off over such a wide area for a specific event,” Fei Liu, an air quality researcher at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre, said in a statement.

Meanwhile, China’s nitrogen dioxide emissions – a byproduct of fossil fuel combustion in vehicles and power plants – fell 36 percent in the week following the Lunar New Year holidays, compared with the same period a year earlier, according to another study by CREA that used satellite data.
China’s carbon emissions have dropped by least 100 million metric tons over the past two weeks, according to a study published on Wednesday by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) in Finland. That is nearly six percent of global emissions during the same period last year.
The lockdown of 60 million residents in Italy’s emergency breakout situation, reveals new appearance of nature there. From intense falls in pollution levels in major cities to crystal clear waters in the canals of Venice, the coronavirus pandemic is showing it’s enchanted effect on environment. The number of motorboats and crowds of tourists are vastly reduced because of lockdown. The water has been begun to clear up as the pollution from boats has reduced. Even a dolphin has been spotted in the canal for the first time in nearly 60 years since the lockdown of Venice.
Fish living inside are now visible as water of these canals are much clearer than before. Not only are the fish detectible, white swans have now replaced the famous gondolas, floating across the cleaner waters.Like this, significant drops of warming and air pollutant gases are observing over some cities and regions are showing as this pandemic impacts work and travel.

For the first time in decades, a near shutdown of cruise and cargo ship traffic around Italy’s canal city of Venice has resulted in fish returning to the Venice lagoon and canals.
One of the most polluted cities in India, Delhi is now perceiving a drop in its air pollution. According to the India Meteorological Department, the maximum temperature during the day in Delhi is just around 29 degrees Celsius. There are fewer vehicles on the road and the air is clearer as most of the places shut in the capital. After a record AQI High of 1000, the partial lockdown is indeed helping the environment of Delhi.
Cons : The wider conservation world is also feeling the impact of this unprecedented crisis. 2020 was meant to be the ‘super year for nature’: over the coming months, the world’s governments were scheduled to meet through the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), to thrash out the targets countries need to meet to tackle the biodiversity crisis. All of which is likely to delay the summit, along with the global plan for nature that could save the planet.It’s about meetings themselves, discussing, public awareness-raising and campaigning planned alongside them. at this moment, the environment isn’t at the priority of most people’s minds. However, some may argue that it should be, because biodiversity and the spread of pandemics are closely entangled.
According to the World Economic Forum, the increase in disease outbreaks over the past decades is linked to climate change and biodiversity loss. For example, deforestation is linked to 31% of disease outbreaks, including Ebola and the Zika virus, because felling trees drives animals out of their natural habitats, making them more likely to come into contact with humans and pass on disease.
Another hand, discarded face masks are piling up on Hong Kong’s beaches and nature trails, with environmental groups warning that the waste is posing a huge threat to marine biodiversity and wildlife habitats. For weeks, most of Hong Kong’s 7.4 million people have been putting on single-use face masks every day in the hope of warding off the coronavirus, which has infected 126 people in the city and killed three of them.

But huge numbers of the masks are not disposed of properly, and have instead ended up dumped in the countryside or the sea, where marine life can mistake them for food, washing up on beaches along with the usual plastic bags and other trash.
Environmental groups, already grappling with the flow of marine trash from mainland China and elsewhere, say the cast-off corona virus masks have compounded the problem and also raised concern about the spread of germs.
Observing all the fact , we can literally realise that while humanity is dealing with the Corona virus (COVID-19) outbreak plaguing the planet, it seems that there are some eco-benefits to be had from our lockdown and it is healing Mother Earth.

Ifrat Rahman
Student, Department of Environmental Science and Disaster Management
Noakhali Science & Technology University

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