Pandemic shines a light on worldwide environmental issues


Megan Lopez

Senior Megan Lopez says this pandemic should be the wake up call to continue changing the environment for the better.

Cecilia Zavala, Overflow Section Editor

Pandemic (adj.), a disease prevalent to a whole country or the world. People around the world are seeing the effects of COVID-19 in their everyday lives. With months of decreased human activity, the drastic improvements of the environment are becoming clear. 

The world has had environmental troubles for a while. With things like pollution contributing to greenhouse gas emissions and global warming melting the ice caps, it is easy to see how much human interactions have negatively impacted the world.

Senior Grace Almgren sees the damaging effects that come with not taking care of the planet and wants to change that. “We have to take care of our planet because it is the only place we have. This is our home and if we want to be able to live here, we have to take care of it,” said Almgren.

Ever since worldwide regulations were put in place by the CDC, the environment has taken a turn for the better.

Two years ago, a study was conducted in China of deaths relating to air pollution. It was found that 1 million Chinese citizens were dying each year due to the poor air quality. Air pollution does not only affect the population and life-expectancy, but hinders the economy.

China’s economy spent 267 billion yuan (almost $40 million USD) to make up for the 20 million tons of rice, wheat and soybean that were ruined by the air pollution. 

However, things have changed with recent satellite imagery from NASA showing a significant drop in air pollution over China. Senior Kent Nichols voices his thoughts by saying, “There are so many natural beauties around the world that are one of a kind and need to be taken care of. I’m happy to see it’s changing for the better.”

Venice, Italy is also experiencing a drastic environmental change due to COVID-19. Venice is well-known for their gondola rides through the canal and citizens of Italy have been excited to point out the sudden clearness of the water. In November, Venice had been dealing with over-tourism which caused poor water and air quality as well as the sinking of its historical buildings.

During these times however, the once fogged and dirty waters have cleared. Senior Megan Lopez is glad the world has been benefiting from the lack of human activity. “I think it’s incredible that our planet is changing for the better, although it’s a little sad that it took a worldwide pandemic for it to change,” said Lopez.

Bringing it closer to home, New York has experienced major changes during the pandemic. Researchers have found impressive numbers regarding the air quality in New York. There has been a 5-10 percent drop in air pollutants, traffic levels have gone down by 35 percent and carbon monoxide emissions have dropped by nearly 50 percent. 

“If we wish to live on a clean planet and keep people from getting sick as well as supporting the ozone layer, we need to work to keep and improve these ‘new’ environments,” says Nichols.

A pandemic has been what was needed to kickstart a change in the treatment of the environment. Now that people can see the effects of less emissions and pollution, the path the world needs to take from here on out is clear.