Short-term respite will cost nature a great deal: an expert on the environmental effect of coronavirus

The regime of self-isolation, to which half of mankind has passed because of coronavirus, has had a beneficial effect on nature. Water in the canals of Venice became transparent, even dolphins appeared in it. The air over Italy became much cleaner. The eternal smog over China scattered too. This is confirmed by maps of nitrogen dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere. In a month of quarantine, the air over Wuhan province was practically purified.

And across China, emissions fell by a quarter in February alone. In absolute values, that’s 200 million tons of carbon dioxide. That’s how much the UK has emitted in a whole year. It would seem that the nature of the pandemic is on the plus side. But experts are urging us not to jump to conclusions. A short-term respite can be very expensive for nature.

self-isolation and climate

“You and I forget about the increased demand for disposable personal hygiene items and the ever-growing amount of medical waste. They are not being recycled at the moment. In other words, all this as a result of the pandemic may turn out to be a negative experience, because after its decline, consumption and associated emissions will increase again, and very sharply,” says Professor of the Institute of Advanced Materials and Technologies of the National Research Institute of Mathematics and Technology.

But the economic crisis, which threatens most countries of the world due to the coronavirus pandemic, can cause much greater damage to nature.

“The economic crisis is distracting all forces and planned financial investments in the fight against global warming, a threat to biological diversity,” explains the expert. – It basically slows down the transition to clean energy in the 20th year and you and I will get an incredible result of measures, unplanned environmental decisions in politics when this crisis is over and out”.