A break for the planet, the other side of the coronavirus
When the confinement of Wuhan due to coronavirus was decreed on January 23, we could see the first effects of the quarantine on the environment. Pollution in China has dropped to historic levels. In just 3 weeks the country stopped emitting 150 million tons of C02. A reduction of 25% which represents 6% overall. With the paralysis of half the world, nature spread through cities and rural areas as before. During this period of time, we were able to see incredible samples of its beauty. An important learning that we must not forget and we should all keep in mind: the planet can continue without us. In this article we are going to analyze the benefits of quarantine for the environment.
CO₂ emission reductionWhat happened in China with the city of Wuhan was only a warning to the rest of the world. In less than two months, Italy, Spain and half of Europe had already confined their population. With this, the beneficial effects of the quarantine were soon seen in the natural environment. The closure of airspace, educational and leisure centers, teleworking and the end of life as we knew it, had begun. We had to stop our frenetic lifestyle and it took a few days for the planet to notice. Suddenly, you could hear the silence in the streets , cities free of pollution and skies clean of kerosene, we listened to the little birds and saw the stars. The data from the Asian country spread to the European and American continents. With a 50% and 70% drop in global mobility, CO₂ emissions fell by 17% on average per day. In areas where confinement was strict, the reduction was 30%. Here we can see how the variations were according to the sector. According to Corinne Le Quéré, from the University of East Anglia (UK): “Only the equivalent of a break like this every year could prevent us from ending the century with an increase of more than 1.5ºC”.
Cleaner and quieter citiesWithout thousands of people constantly coming and going, cities around the world could look cleaner and calmer than ever. See the Trevi Fountain empty? Eiffel Tower without tourists? Gran Vía in Madrid lonely? The coronavirus quarantine allowed us to discover what metropolises are like when there is literally no one on the street. In the face of this apparent calm, pollution levels dropped considerably. According to the Catalan Department of the Environment, CO₂ levels were reduced by up to 75% in April. In Madrid, the reduction was similar. Descents that were seen and that resulted in heavy rains and even snow in the middle of April. With the absence of carbon dioxide, you could breathe cleaner air and see bluer skies than ever before. Important benefits of quarantine for the health and quality of life of the inhabitants.
Repopulation of the flora and fauna of the planetCities without citizens? It's hard to remember the last time something like this happened. It is not surprising that the quarantine has brought with it an animal rebellion. The flora and fauna returned to occupy the space that previously belonged to them. Wild boars could be seen in Catalonia or peacocks in Madrid, those who were witnesses will not forget it. Illegal hunting decreased due to limited movements and endangered species were able to reproduce. One of the examples of this is found in Kenya, where 140 baby elephants have been born since the restrictions caused by the expansion of the coronavirus began. There were natural spaces that could also be recovered. For example, in the Canary Islands, the dunes of Maspalomas on the island of Gran Canaria, recovered their landscape of 50 years ago.
Less seismic vibrationsWho would say it, but our passage through the planet is noticeable and much. Do you know that the expansion of the coronavirus brought with it the reduction of the seismic vibrations of the Earth? Or rather, the confinement due to the coronavirus caused the vibrations caused by human movement to be reduced. According to National Geographic : “Anthropomorphic vibrations fell by an average of 50% between the months of March and May” . A very significant fact, since it is the quietest period of time since records have been kept, they add. A study by a team of Imperial College scientists coordinated by the Royal Observabory in Belgium said: "Our study uniquely highlights how much human activities affect the solid Earth, and could allow us to see more clearly than ever what difference between human and natural noise," explains Dr Stephen Hicks, from the Department of Earth Sciences and Engineering at Imperial College. The brake on our fast pace of life imposed by the appearance and expansion of the serious virus that affects us, has given us the opportunity to regain silence. We have the opportunity to reflect on the consequences of our way of life and the benefits that our natural and social environment could experience if we include small gestures in our daily life habits. We are more people than rulers. Let's not wait for the imposition of the law. Together we can put a stop to the destruction of our world. Travel alone if you need to, separate waste at home and practice zero waste , say no to throwaway clothes, consume local, support your local environment, live and let live.