World Environment Day 2020 amidst COVID-19

World Environment Day 2020

For the past three months, the world witnessed unprecedented activities and occurrences. With a third of the world in complete lockdown, the global environment got the much-needed break from the intensive human interference with the natural cycle of the Earth. The World Environment Day, this June, will be unique since people around the world have not experienced fresh air, clean water, and nature in its raw form for decades that last up to half a century.

Coronavirus or COVID-19, that has spread across more than 190 countries in the world affecting over six million people in just three months is something that the population of the present century was not prepared. The pandemic has shut over half the population of the world inside their house this year since February this year. People across the world were brought face to face with a freshening spring and now with a lovely summer where we all got to know what true nature – air, water, and earth is like.

Since the global shutdown that commenced across the world in February this year, the air quality around the world has improved drastically and the level of pollution has been cut by as much as 60% with factories and traffic having been brought to a standstill. The water in rivers and lakes is clearer due to the lack of ships and boats, and sightings of unique animals and mountain ranges are reported which has not happened in decades.

COVID19 reduced human interference in environment

With human interference in nature reduced drastically, Earth has started showing signs of being healed. But like most things in life, even these changes are temporary and the situation will worsen once the lockdown is lifted. With a number of positive news in terms of air quality and more coming due to global shutdown, it is left to be seen what the environmental effect of COVID-19 will due to an increase in the production of bio-medical wastes. Single-use plastic has been utilized more to deliver food to people as they stay at home to prevent the spread of disease. Most of which is and will not be recycled due to the fear of virus propagation. Even with the approaching World Environment Day, incidences of illegal deforestation, poaching, and fishing have also presented themselves in nature conservation zones the surveillance around which were shut due to the fast-spreading disease.

The few positives news with regards to our environment during the global lockdown which was seen before World Environment Day are all set to be eclipsed by the negatives when the world goes back to being as it was before the lockdown. Besides the inevitable rise in global air pollution, overexploitation of natural resources to balance the economy and increase employment will also be witnessed when the pandemic is over.

It is just a matter of time that humans being as selfish they are, return things the way they were before the pandemic hit the world.

The world did not need a pandemic for people to realize the benefits of being responsible for nature. The environment around the world has been degrading at an alarming rate for the past decade and still, no effective means have been implemented to conserve and reverse the effects of extensive exploitation of resources for the benefit of humans.

people maintaining social distance

The reason why a pathogen that is usually found in animals managed found a support system to enter the human body is primarily because of human encroachment is animal territories. There are millions of other virus strains and pathogens in animals, which can easily help themselves into humans and prove to be far more dangerous and with a higher mortality rate than the current COVID-19. As we destroy the homes of wildlife and force our way into their territories leaving them without the support of their natural habitats, we make the human population vulnerable to the diseases in which the animal species will be clueless to donate to us.

It is, therefore, immensely crucial for all us to do our part to support and protect the only world we will get in our lives to live. A healthy environment would help us in becoming a healthy human being at risk of lesser diseases. Maintaining a balanced eco-system and providing support to the needs of animals, trees and every necessary ecological entity is essential which we as humans need to implement urgently. For even if humans manage to find another life-sustaining planet within this galaxy, reaching it will not be possible any time soon if we destroy our present home.

This World Environment Day, let us all pledge to not ignore our duties and donate whatever resources we can muster towards our world and support in improving the health and well-being of our plant.

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Author

Vijayendra Srivastava

Vijayendra works as Program Officer with Smile on Wheels. Smile on Wheels is Smile Foundation's mobile hospital program which is taking free doorstep healthcare services to the unreached parts of India.

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