Is Coronavirus Outbreak Mending Nature?


Lakes in Kashmir are breahing fresh due to absence of tourist traffic- File Photo

Asiya Qadir

The number of changes have occurred in nature since the outbreak of Coronavirus or Covid-19. The life on the globe has virtually come to a standstill. Continuous lockdown has halted the industrial activities, taken traffic off the roads and there is a slowdown in the economy.

The coronavirus was first detected in China’s central city of Wuhan in late December 2019. The Novel Coronavirus has spread across the globe and has consumed 37,800 people as per the last count on March 31. More than 780,000 people have tested positive for COVID-19 according to the data compiled by John Hopkins University.

No doubt Coronavirus is a pandemic that has brought in misery and pain for the humanity but it has also thrown up some positive results and given mankind some moment of reflection.

The satellite image of China released by NASA after the Coronavirus outbreak in late  February 2019 unraveled the reduction in pollution with the Co2 and NO2 emissions showing a sharp fall. “This is the first time I have seen such a dramatic drop-off over such a wide area for a specific event,” Fei Liu, an air quality researcher at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre, said in a NASA release.

We all know the Chinese electronic goods are being used world wide as the country has emerged as home to big industries. The normal trend is that the noxious gases add to the air by conduction. Some gases clad the Troposphere and remain there. When the concentration of these gases increase, there is change in the weather patterns. Some of the gases which are more volatile move upwards in the Stratosphere by convection.

The Stratosphere, second layer of atmosphere is the home to ozone gas which is disturbed by these gases particularly cl. In short the presence of cl gas is no less than death for the ozone layer. The industrial sector is defunct in China, so there is no emission of noxious gases at present.

On 13th of March 2020, European Space Agency (ESA) released the Sentinel satellite image of Italy, showing decline in the emission of NO2 and other baleful gases over northern part of the country.

The pollution rate that had increased swiftly in the world is clearing by degrees due to the Coronavirus lockdown. But how long will it remain? days or months?

Already, data shows that the main cities in India are recording much lower levels of harmful microscopic particulate matter known as PM 2.5, and of nitrogen dioxide, which is released by vehicles and power plants.

PM 2.5, which is smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter, is considered particularly dangerous as it can lodge deep into the lungs and pass into other organs and the bloodstream, causing serious health risks.

The sudden fall in pollutants and the subsequent blue skies signal a dramatic shift for India — which has 21 of the world’s 30 most polluted cities, according to the IQAir AirVisual’s 2019 World Air Quality Report.

In many other places of the world, air pollution has been lifted and the fall in global carbon emission has also been observed.

As there are no traffic activities in the canals of Venice, Italy, the sediments settle down at the  bottom of the canals which makes the turbid waterways more clear.

The aquatic ecosystems of Dal and Wullar and Manasbal lakes in Kashmir are undisturbed for over a year now. The fish and other aquatic species in these lakes are breathing a sigh of relief.

Is coronavirus outbreak mending nature? The clear air and water globally suggests that nature is healing itself century after century. During this coronavirus lockdown, the humans should take a note that their absence is making nature flourish.

Author can be reached at:  [email protected]

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