The Effects of COVID-19: How the Environment and Economy Intersect

| 5/26/2020 9:40:00 AM

As I am sure all of you know, we are currently living through history in the making. Our lives have shifted dramatically as we cope with the new virus by obeying stay-at-home orders and remaining self-isolated. But while we have been safely tucked away in our homes, the earth around us as begun to heal itself in our absence. This is interesting, because while the human world, specifically the economy, is seeming to crumble, the environment is being given a chance to rebound.

 Melting ice on mountains

Guiseppe Mondì on

Environmental Impacts of COVID-19

There is, thankfully, a silver lining to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have been keeping up with social media and the news, you may have noticed that wildlife and the environment are better off due to our world pausing.

Improved Air Quality. Due to the stay-at-home orders issued by the state governments of the United States, there is significantly less travel, which reduces transportation-related pollutants. Airport and car related pollutants have decreased, which decreases the amount of nitrogen dioxide and formaldehyde being emitted.

Both of the named chemicals contribute to ozone development. Ozone not only contributes to global warming, but is also toxic to humans, causing chest pain, coughing, and throat irritation. Less coal is being burned due to a decrease in energy consumption during the COVID-19 national shutdown.

Coal burning creates carbon dioxide emissions, which also contributes to climate change. Although domestic energy usage has increase 6-8% due to citizens working at home, the pandemic has still caused an overall decrease in energy consumption. The reduction in both transportation pollutants and coal burning emissions have led to better air quality globally. For example, the air pollution in New York have dropped by almost 50%. Emission levels have also dropped in Europe and China.

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