Md. Naimur Rahman: In a matter of months, the world has been transformed. Thousands of people have already died, and hundreds of thousands more have fallen ill, from a coronavirus that was previously unknown before appearing in the city of Wuhan in December 2019. For millions of others who have not caught the disease, their entire way of life has changed by it. Life, as we know it, has changed beyond all recognition. But it is also having some interesting positive effects on the environment. Here are some great examples.
Air pollution has dropped significantly
It is all aimed at controlling the spread of Covid-19, and hopefully reducing the death toll. But all this change has also led to some unexpected consequences. As industries, transport networks and businesses have closed down, it has brought a sudden drop in carbon emissions. Compared with this time last year, levels of pollution in New York have reduced by nearly 50% because of measures to contain the virus.
In China, emissions fell 25% at the start of the year as people were instructed to stay at home, factories shuttered and coal use fell by 40% at China’s six largest power plants since the last quarter of 2019. The proportion of days with “good quality air” was up 11.4% compared with the same time last year in 337 cities across China, according to its Ministry of Ecology and Environment. In Europe, satellite images show nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions fading away over northern Italy. A similar story is playing out in Spain and the UK.
The waters of Venice are clean once again
Coronavirus has another unexpected effect on the environment in Venice, Italy. As the number of tourists dwindles due to the virus, the canals of Venice are clearer than the memory of the water life. Motorboats are effectively “grounded” with things like churning of poly and other water pollutants dramatically reduced. In most regions of Venice, residents are surprised at how clean the water is. In fact, fish can be seen again in the canals.
New York’s air has also gotten cleaner
With many people around the world either voluntarily or in self-government order, some of China’s largest cities are seeing their air quality improve. An example is New York. Researchers found that air pollutants, such as carbon dioxide in New York, decreased by 5-7 to 10%. Methane emissions also decreased significantly. Traffic levels have also dropped significantly, with some estimates of 5% in the region. Carbon monoxide emissions also dropped somewhere in the region of 50%.
“New York has had an exceptionally high amount of carbon monoxide for the past year and a half,” Columbia professor Risen Komen said in an interview to the BBC. “And this is the clearest I’ve seen. That’s usually less than half what we see in March. “
Air pollution is dropping as planes are getting grounded
Another interesting effect on the environment is the significant reduction in air travel. In places like Europe, aviation has taken serious concern. It is improving air quality and reducing air pollution over many countries around the world. With some low planes buzzing around, problems related to controls and exhaust emissions are getting easier
Less than 67 million passengers traveled anywhere in the region in the first three months of 2021, any year earlier. Flight operators and policy makers are trying to figure out how it will get worse in the next few months.
Many airlines are canceling more of their flights. The virus has spread around the world. Because of this, the IATA predicts that the industry could suffer $ 113 billion in losses this year.
Emissions from coal combustion are falling in China
Another effect on the environment as a result of coronavirus is the marked drop in consumption of coal. This has contributed in part to reducing air pollutants in places like China. Not only is air quality improving in the regions, it is also reducing the number of airborne pollutants such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and nitrous oxide.
China is currently one of the largest producers and customers of coal. It is estimated that they consumed about 59% of their fuel needs in 2018. It helps manage most of its industry and is also used as a domestic fuel source for many of its citizens. According to the CREA analysis of WIND data, the use of China’s major coal-fired power plants decreased by 36% between February and March this year.
Domestic energy use rising, commercial use is falling further reducing emissions
As more and more people are subjected to lockdowns around the world, the profile of fuel consumption in buildings is being disrupted. Many people now work from home are predicted to increase domestic fuel consumption faster.
It is predicted that it only grows somewhere in the region of 6 to 8% of the United States. In contrast, with very few people in a commercial or educational building, their energy consumption should be 30% of the quarters.
This will ultimately save energy because the use of commercial and educational buildings is more than compensating for increased household use by a larger drop. The reduction in demand has also had the effect of reducing the use of polluting fuel in the power plant.