Since the start of the virus, environmental specialists have found carbon and greenhouse emissions to decrease around the globe. The decrease came from the drop in the number of air flights occurring, the decline of people being out and driving around their cities, and the reduction of coal plants and industrial sites operating. Countries like China and Italy who had lockdowns implemented much sooner than others have seen the biggest shrink in emissions. (VisualCapitalist.com)
Many individual cities such as Los Angeles, New York, and Beijing have seen large improvements in their air quality because of COVID-19. China has recorded a 25% drop in emissions since the start of the year, according to research conducted by CarbonBrief.org. Throughout Texas, TxDOT reported traffic volume to be "down between 18 percent and 44 percent" at the start of March through April. These effects have helped the environment to benefit from people staying at home in hopes to curb the spread of the virus.
Not only has air quality improved, but levels of pollution have also greatly lowered. With less tourists and people visiting beaches and national parks, the amount of litter piling up has dwindled. Cleaner oceans and parks not only serve in the best interest of people but also of wildlife and habitats. With less people being outside to drop their trash on the ground, there are now more animals being seen wandering out in the open and being less likely to eat waste.
One last and slightly unusual effect COVID-19 has caused is the reduction of environmental noise levels. Environmental noise is generated from industrial and commercial activities and transit vehicles. It serves as "one of the main sources of discomfort for the population and the environment," (ScienceDirect.com) which can alter the natural conditions of ecosystems. Again, with people being quarantined at home, a drop in environmental noise has dropped considerably.
As a community, we all must be resilient through these ever-changing times. Each day we continue to adapt to these new conditions and as we do, we see how our environment adapts as well and strives for its well-being. It's also important to note the responsibility we have to keep our communities clean and beautiful, especially during these times. Check out our blog on Recreating Responsibly to learn more about what you can do to help keep our communities clean.
Visit our Get Involved Page to learn how to further help our environment in both big, small and positive ways.
Blog Post Written By Jazmin Velasquez, Communications Intern at KTB.