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COVID-19 AND THE ENVIRONMENT

Alison Achilonu

Owerri, Nigeria


The outbreak of COVID-19 has caused concerns globally. The first case was recorded in wuhan, China as at December 2019. WHO decleared COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic on 11th of March 2019.


The virus spreads asymptomatically; people can possibly pass it on without showing any signs. The easy spread of the virus made it compulsory for people to use masks and sanitizers as preventive route. The easy spread of COVID-19 has put millions of people in lockdown, affecting the environment, affecting people's lifestyle, causing excess loss of jobs, theatening the sustainabiltity of millions of people, as companies, SMEs, Industries, stores has been shut to contain the spread of the virus.


Covid-19 effect on the environment and climate can not be over-emphasized, The considerable decrease in planned travels,tourism, site seeing has caused many regions to experience a large drop in air majorly caused by CO2 emission by aircraft. In China and other measures resulted in a 75% decrease in toxic gases release into the atmosphere.


Wildlife in Africa became more vulnerable to poachers since the lockdown has restricted tourism, as people stayed at home due to lockdown and travel restrictions, some animals have been spotted in cities where they are not usually encountered.


The lockdown measures adopted by most countries around the world have caused many beaches to become clean. This as a result of the decrease in waste generated by tourists who visits. Likewise, noise levels have reduced considerably due to decrease in number of visits. The reduction in the use the use of private and public means of transportation, and socio-economic activities, has caused a decrease in noise pollution.



Despite the positive indirect effects on the environment, the new coronavirus has also generated negative indirect ones. some countries have suspended recycling programs because government are bothered about the risk of spreading the virus . Also sustainable waste management has been restricted. On the other hand, wastes generated by households has increased.Also, food purchased online is can packed, so inorganic waste has also increased.


Medical waste is also on the rise, hospitals dispose masks and gloves on daily bases. Reduction in waste recycling has also been a bottle-neck during this period, Recycling is an effective way to prevent pollution, save energy, and conserve natural resources (Varotto and Spagnolli, 2017;Ma et al., 2019).


As a result of the pandemic, countries such as the USA have stopped recycling programs in most of their cities.Another effects revolve about the reduction of CO2 and NO2 concentrations in China, France, Germany, Spain, USA and Italy. Most notably the high pollution of these gases are one of the greatest environmental degradation of developed countries (Sharma and Dhar, 2018).


The restriction to recycle waste in countries like the USA and Italy has been another negative indirect effect of Covid-19. It is essential to mention that although the emissions of some gases has decreased as a result of the pandemic, this reduction could have little impact on the total concentrations of gases that have accumulated in the atmosphere for decades.


For a significant decline, there should be a long-term structural change in the countries' economies. This result can be achieved through the ratification of the environmental commitments made. Furthermore, the decrease in gases emissions currently observed in some countries is only temporary. Once the pandemic ends, countries will most likely revive their economies and gas emissions will rise again.



Thanks for reading!



https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/PMC7169883


https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/events-as-they-happen


https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969720323871


https://www.webmd.com/lung/coronavirus-transmission-overview


https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impact_of_the_COVID-19_pandemic_on_the_environment


https://www.un.org/en/un-coronavirus-communications-team/launch-report-socio-economic-impacts-covid-19


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