COVID-19 Lockdowns also Help Environment Say Scientists

Lauren Cribbs and Caroline Glus

The coronavirus has impacted most lives in the United States and other countries around the world with issued lockdowns. Being stuck at home due to stay-at-home orders, where the only time you can leave the house is for essicial reasons can be a downer, but not all bad has come from it. The environment is getting a break as well. 

Lockdowns were put in place to try and slow the spread of the coronavirus, and these lockdowns have actually helped the environment. 

When people are not leaving their houses, there is less of a production of pollution. Pollution can be caused by several things including a lot of transportation that isn’t being used such as cars, trucks, and airplanes. Also with businesses not working right now, factories are not producing fossil fuels and office buildings aren’t running their lights on everyday which also produces fossil fuels. 

According to NASA, “March 2020 shows the lowest monthly atmospheric nitrogen dioxide levels of any March during the OMI data record, which spans 2005 to the present.” OMI is an Ozone Monitoring Instrument on NASA’s Aura satellite which measures the average concentrations of atmospheric nitrogen dioxide. 

NASA explains that nitrogen dioxide levels in March 2020 were 30% lower on average across Washington D.C. to Boston than the mean from 2015-2019. NASA’s satellites are being used to show how the environment is responding to humans not being out all of the time, and it was a positive result to see how well the environment is actually doing. 

According to NBC News, the lead developer of the CoolClimate Network, Christopher Jones, said, “If we can think about how to prepare for climate change like a pandemic, maybe there will be a positive outcome to all of this.” Since there are positive results on the environment, maybe people will realize it does not take a lot to help the environment. 

Places all over the world like Venice, Italy are seeing actual differences. According to a Daily Mail article, canals in Venice are clearer than ever. People have reported being able to see schools of fish in the canals and also white swans swimming again. Without all the people and tourists using the canals, they are getting a break from boats and other resources emptying waste and oil into them. 

While it is not the best way to learn how less usage of products that produce fossil fuels can really change the environment for the better, the quarantine has shown that the little things can really make a big difference.