• Zoe Stankevitz

Has the environment benefited from the Covid-19 stay at home order?

For years the earth's protection and environment has rapidly been declining due to pollution and deforestation. Yet with the recent changes in today's society we can see a small difference that started once highly populated countries placed a stay-at-home order. The stay at home order was originally meant to decrease the alarming number of coronavirus cases in major countries such as the U.S., Britain, China, Spain, and multiple others. While this did work for their main reason, it also had unexpected consequences that could help the growing cause of concern. Soon after factories shut down temporarily, China started to see the smog that hung overhead lighten. Air pollution decreased suddenly as all nonessential travel was banned. And multiple other studies and evidence have shown the positive and negative effects that have come in the past three months.

2020 was labelled the year that the world needs to make drastic changes in order to reduce the permanent damage done by pollution. While the coronavirus overshadowed these efforts, it was also a godsend for people unwilling to change. With the ban of nonessential travel, air pollution has decreased suddenly. This sudden drop in the amount of carbon in the atmosphere has shown improvement of the timeline for Our planet. Along with the decrease in carbon in the atmosphere, scientists fear that all the positive impacts could be quickly reversed with an attempt to boost the economy. This could be caused by governments restarting factories and air travel to regain control over the unruly national debt. The price of meat and animal byproducts has increased after the lack of hunting; yet the price and demand for fish has decreased significantly since the pandemic. Harring is projected to be able to have a doubled biomass which could be detrimental for other sea creatures. Taking away resources and energy from other organisms could cause extinction worries. - Fish are also estimated to have a higher population in the near future due to the higher water quality during this time. With the decrease in air pollution the water pollution has also decreased at an extreme amount. Leading fish and marine life to populate at a higher pace.

Meanwhile, negative impacts have also come out of the stay-at-home order. A rise in non-recyclable waste and single use plastics have come from staying inside for three months. In a time of uncertainty people buy bottles of water and emergency necessities in case of a societal downfall. The media most likely contributed to this mass hysteria. Using the pandemic to sell commercial products leads to necessities being sold out and companies panicking to restock basic products.

Environmental impacts of coronavirus crisis, challenges ahead. (2020, April 20). Retrieved June 6, 2020, from Environmental impacts of coronavirus crisis, challenges ahead. (2020, April 20). Retrieved June 6, 2020, from https://unctad.org/en/pages/newsdetails.aspx?OriginalVersionID=2333

Denne, L. (2020, April 14). Coronavirus lockdowns have sent pollution plummeting. Environmentalists worry about what comes next. Retrieved June 6, 2020, from https://www.nbcnews.com/science/environment/coronavirus-lockdowns-have-sent-pollution-plummeting-environmentalists-worry-about-what-n1178326