COVID-19 impacts environment

Grace Blanchong

   COVID-19 has impacted the world greatly over these past few weeks. Schools and offices are becoming virtual, many businesses are shutting their doors for a few weeks and much travel has been put on pause, all in hopes of decreasing the effect of this disease. 

   While it seems easier to focus on the negatives of this viral outbreak, there are many people that are looking for the positives, one of which is the environmental impact of this disease. 

   COVID-19 has led many businesses and factories to cease the creation of their products, at least for a few weeks. While we can’t neglect the potentially harmful economic result of these actions, we can focus on the potentially beneficial environmental impacts.

   With less industrial activity, many companies have decreased the amount of air pollutants they have released. Dr. Aaron Bernstein, a pediatrician and Interim Director for The Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health (Harvard C-CHANGE) was asked about the connection between COVID-19 and climate change.

   “I think the strongest links I see are actually related, first of all, to air pollution, and fossil fuels as a source of air pollution, and fossil fuels, of course, are the major cause of climate change.”

   Along with less pollution from factories and buildings, there has also been a decrease in travel, both by automobile and plane. 

   According to researchers in New York state “early results showed carbon monoxide, mainly from cars, had been reduced by nearly 50% compared with last year … 

   Both China and Northern Italy have also recorded significant falls in nitrogen dioxide, which is related to reduced car journeys and industrial activity. The gas is both a serious air pollutant and a powerful warming chemical.”