The silver lining of the dark coronavirus cloud

The world is in a state of disarray due to the pandemic which is rife across the globe. The lack of control evident in the multiple news articles citizens see every day spreads panic as quickly as the virus itself. Indeed there is no denial that COVID-19 is bringing many negative impacts such as exhausting the NHS system and depleting its supplies, businesses closing and large economic damage. Nonetheless, there is the comforting testimony to the positive impact on the environmental issues that remains the largest global problem humans face today.

Preceding the whole of the UK entering an unprecedented lockdown, air quality has already been seen to improve in the UK.  King’s College London runs the London Air Quality Network which has produced data showing the drop in NO2 compared to the average levels produced in London.

In the UK, there is a shocking average of 40,000 deaths per year at the hand of air pollution. Air pollution has been linked to the stunting of children’s lungs growth, heart disease, respiratory disease along with lung cancer. Just in the few days of Boris Johnson restricting access outside of homes, there has been a huge improvement in air quality that if continued, could save loads of life and reduce this enormous average.

China, the world’s most populated country and the world’s biggest industrial polluter have impeded carbon dioxide emissions by one quarter. This amount of carbon dioxide is equal to 150 million metric tons. This is around the amount New York produces in a year.

Not only is there evidence for the positive effect in China and the UK, but the change is also illustrated in clear canals of Venice in Italy due to there being fewer boats churning up the water. This has attracted dolphins and other creatures.

It has taken the pandemic of the coronavirus to make us change our ways. There is a clear and visual effect of the coronavirus and how it will immediately impact the globe and therefore requiring an immediate response from the government. However, our environmental issues, which are also extremely immediate, many be found harder to see the present effect of. However, this issue is present and it is exceedingly important to act now. With any hope, our world will take multiple lessons from this pandemic and one of which will be to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. Hopefully, we will remember how the lockdown actually brightened up the world making it clearer and healthier to live in. However, it is likely that the lockdown rules will be lifted and life will go back to as before.

– Amy Clarke, year 10