Stay-at-home orders cause positive environmental effects

Analei Berger, Around Creek Editor

There has been talk that the coronavirus has been good for the environment and is helping with the delay of global warming. While part of this may be true, most of those positive effects will only be temporary. So far, the canals in Italy that are normally ridden with pollution and were a cloudy mess, are now clear due to the lack of water travel. The fish are even visible in the canals and there are reports that people can actually see the bottom.

This is because Venice and the rest of Italy has been on lockdown for the past few weeks. For a while, Italy had the most cases and the country continues to have the highest mortality rate. It is speculated that the reason that Italy has had some of the most deaths is because they are a country that has a population that is made up of an older generation. It is also the social norm in Italy to smoke. And if not known, smoking damages the lungs, which in turn, makes them susceptible for people to get respiratory infections, what the coronavirus essentially is.  

Another beneficial impact on the environment has been that the amount of pollution and natural gas (carbon dioxide) emissions have decreased by 25 percent, which is equal to 200 million tons in China, just since the month of February. It was also found that the amount of coal that was being consumed by power plants fell by roughly 36 percent. This is due to the number of factories and power plants that have shut down since the outbreak of the virus.

For some context, this is equivalent to the amount of annual emissions in Great Britain. In the United States, people in New York, Seattle, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle and Atlanta are reporting that the fog of pollution that normally looms over the city has lifted. Overall, the amount of carbon emissions in the world has subsided. 

“Carbon dioxide is tied to industrial activity, electricity production and transportation, so anything that affects those sectors will impact greenhouse gases, as well,” Christopher Jones, lead developer of the CoolClimate network, said. 

Although there have been some good things that have happened to the environment, it equally outweighs the bad. One thing is that studies that are being done to help the environment have been put to a halt due to the impact of the virus. And whilst people are happy to see the decline in gas prices from two dollars and nine cents down to a dollar and fifty cents, there are some side effects. There is now a demand in oil and it could lead to one of the biggest contractions in history, which could be up to ten million barrels per day. 

The amount of decreasing emissions now will not last long, as soon as the pandemic has ended, the world will get back to their daily lives and everyone will enlarge their carbon footprint. The same things happened with the oil crisis in the 1970s and the 2008 recession. 

The coronavirus has been terrible world-wide and thousands of people across the globe have died from the virus. As of April 3, the virus has infected over 1,098,848 people and has caused over 58,800 deaths. As the popular United States saying goes, “America is number one!” In this particular pandemic, the US has the highest number of cases. Just in the United States, there are around 400,000 confirmed cases. Confirmed is the key word here because not everyone that should or needs to be tested is actually being tested. Only people who have recently travelled to the worst countries and  people with a high fever have been tested. People also have to have certain symptoms. New symptoms have appeared, for example, some people cannot taste or smell when they have the virius. There are also some cases that are asymptomatic. 

Overall, the coronavirus has affected and entered every single person’s day to day lives in some way. Whether it be the fact that their school has been cancelled to someone being laid off or furloughed.