For the first time in this century, the world is facing a health crisis that has affected every human being on this planet in some way or another.
On the positive side, the unprecedented scale of COVID-19 has forged greater cooperation between nations. We are learning from each other and trying to contain this dreaded disease before it claims more lives.
However, it is true that it has disrupted our lives like never before.
So, let us take a look at the wide-ranging impact COVID-19 has had on our planet.
COVID-19 – The negative impact
- China, which has tided over the first wave of the COVID-19 crisis, is drowning under the waste it generated during its fight against the virus. It is grappling with large-scale disposal of tonnes of masks, protective gear, hazmat suits (hazardous materials suits) medicines, foils and containers etc. This medical waste disposal problem is something that most countries will soon have to contend with.
- 7 big cats in the Bronx Zoo have tested positive for COVID-19. This raises the possibility that animals too may get infected. Zoos across the world are testing animals and disinfecting their enclosures to keep them safe.
- More than 18.6 lakh people have been infected globally and 1.15 lakh people have lost their lives.
- Global economy has gone into a recession with minimal industrial activity.
- Experts have said that many people will lose jobs globally.
COVID-19 – The positive impact
While COVID-19 has many negatives for the world, it has benefited nature in a few ways.
- Seismic noise (noise and vibrations made by human activity) has dropped. With no noise emanating from cars and buses, noise pollution too is no longer plaguing us.
- Air quality index in every country has improved. Cars are off the roads. Similarly, air travel has become minimal. According to calculations by the Climate Group, this will produce 30 million tonnes of carbon emission less this year.
3. In China, the most polluted country in the world, air pollution level has dropped by 25%. According to research by Stanford University, this could save the lives of 4000 children under the age of 5 and 73,000 adults over the age of 70.
4. The international lens is on the illegal marketing of wildlife. It is believed that COVID-19 originated from a market where wildlife is sold and slaughtered. Wildlife conservationists are urging governments of all countries to take firm action against poaching of wild animals and wildlife consumption.
Negative impact of coronavirus on India
- The number of COVID-19 infections in India has risen sharply over the past few days to more than 9000 cases.
- India’s economy has taken a beating. Sectors like tourism have seen huge losses in the past few months.
- In India, it is estimated that a huge part of the workforce (nearly 50 million people) has been laid off. The unemployment rate in India has shot up to 23.4%.
Positive impact of coronavirus on India
India’s too has derived some pleasant benefits from the lockdown and the halt of human activity-
- Nitrogen dioxide fell by 40-50% in all the metro cities. PM (particulate matter) 2.5 and PM 10 levels too have slid. Since factories are closed and transportation is not required, India’s AQI (Air Quality Index) is improving.
- The rivers of India have to bear the brunt of our inadequate waste disposal means. But ever since the lockdown was imposed, the water quality level of the Ganga and the Yamuna has improved and the chemical pollution level has dipped.
3. Nearly 4.75 Lakh (the highest number in many years) Olive Ridley turtles have made their nests in the Rushikulya beach of Odisha due to empty beaches.
The world has changed and we don’t know when this crisis will pass. All we can do is cooperate with our governments and actively practise social distancing to stay safe.