From cleaner air to liberated wildlife, coronavirus lockdowns across the world appear to have had a number of positive effects on the environment. Modern life as we know it has largely been put on pause with millions of us cooped up indoors as governments try to curtail the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. But outside, the natural world has continued to rumble on, and even shown signs of benefiting from our absence
Below, we take a look at some of the notable impacts of coronavirus lockdowns our surroundings.
- Cleaner air has perhaps been the single greatest positive effect of the lockdowns on the environment
- Citizens in Northern India are seeing the view of the Himalayan mountain range for the first time in their lives, due to the drop in air pollution caused by the country’s coronavirus lockdown.
- Those living in Jalandhar in northern Punjab have shared pictures of the mountains from rooftops and empty streets, amazed by the view which has been hidden by pollution for 30 years.
- While in China, where the Covid-19 pandemic originated, carbon emissions fell by around 25 per cent over a four-week period at the beginning of this year as authorities shuttered factories and people were instructed to stay home, according to an analysis carried out for the climate website Carbon Brief.
In fact cities across the world have seen pollution levels plummet as people have spent less time in vehicles, offices and factories and more time at home.
- Clearer water
- In Venice, famous for its winding canals, water quality appears to have improved amid Italy‘s stringent coronavirus lockdown. Residents in the city have said the waterways are benefiting from the lack of usual boat traffic brought on by the hoards of tourists who visit each year. Emptied of the usual array of motorboat taxis, transport and tourist boats which clog the canals, there has reportedly been a sharp uptick in the clarity of the water.
- The change has meanwhile reportedly offered locals clear views of shoals of small fish, crabs and multicolored plant-life – sights often obscured by busy boating movement in the Lagoon. I honestly believe we should take the opportunity of this lockdown to reflect and see how we can be more organized in the future to find a balance between the city and tourism
- Liberated wildlife
- While there have been a host of now debunked fake stories about animals’ activities during Covid-19 lockdowns, there have also been plenty of instances of creatures across the world appearing to emboldened, and perhaps a bit bemused, by our ongoing lack of activity.
- From a herd of marauding goats taking over a Welsh seaside town to deer in a Japanese city roaming the roads in search of food, the shift in behaviours has ranged between the beautiful and the downright bizarre.
- In Barcelona, Spain, boars have been spotted along the city’s normally bustling avenues, snuffling and trotting around where vehicles once jostled for position.
- Meanwhile in Chile’s capital, Santiago, a wild puma was captured after being found wandering around the city’s deserted centre during a night-time curfew. It is thought that the animal may have ventured down into the capital from nearby surrounding hills.
- “This is the habitat they once had and that we’ve taken away from them,” said Marcelo Giagnoni, the director of the agricultural and livestock service that took part in an operation to capture the puma alongside police and the national zoo.
- The deer in Nara, Japan, have meanwhile been on the move because the park they inhabit has become devoid of tourists – and as a result, the food they are given by visitors and have become accustomed to relying on.
- Small herds venturing into the city have been spotted nibbling at flowers and plants.
- In the UK, a host of animals also appear to have been liberated by lockdown restrictions imposed on us. Reports of increased sightings of moles clambering above ground near well-walked footpaths and predictions from conservationists that many of Britain’s rare birds will enjoy a respite from visitors to the countryside point to wildlife benefiting from our absenteeism.
- It’s also thought wild flowers could bloom in their greatest number for years throughout the UK this summer because of councils cutting back on mowing services, according to research released by conservation charity Plantlife.
- Trevor Dines, Plantlife’s Botanical Specialist said: “An unintended but understandable consequence of lockdown may be reduced mowing that has the potential to benefit wild plants and the bees, butterflies, birds, bats and bugs that depend on them for survival.
“Across the world, the lockdowns may just be showing us how quickly the natural world around us can adapt and thrive in our absence when given some space. Or to put it simply, when we move out, nature can move in