Due to various restrictions due to the current pandemic, many critical pollutants are decreasing in concentration. Air quality is improving rapidly in big cities, which is a good, albeit temporary, response to climate change.
The Woman Post | Carolina Rodríguez Monclou
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According to DW News, more than 500 species have gone extinct in the last 100 years. Another 500 are on the edge of the abyss. Human-driven climate change is one of the factors driving what scientists claim is the sixth mass extinction.
The COVID-19 crisis has largely stopped industrial production and air travel. Due to restrictions, CO2 emissions decrease, and the air the world breathes is cleaner.
According to The Guardian's Global Carbon Project, the most significant drops in global emissions so far have come from conflicts and three global recessions. "But some projections say that the current crisis could lead to the largest drop in emissions, more than all these previous reductions combined," the source reports.
Still, some experts say it is not enough. Abraham Newman, a political scientist at Georgetown University, told DW News: "I think there is a short-term gain from seeing CO2 reductions right now, but we need a massive global effort to solve the climate crisis and right now we are going to spend the next five years responding to the pandemic."
Climate change is by far the most significant threat to humanity. Therefore, society has a window of opportunity to extract concessions from companies to put them on a more sustainable path.
Although CO2 emissions have slowed around the world due to coronavirus restrictions, environmentalists fear a massive increase in waste from protective gear, which often ends up in the world's oceans and seas.
For example, the air is clean in Paris, most airline flights are on the ground, and many people stay at home. But the sea is another story. There, off the Mediterranean coast of France, masks, and gloves abound. This is the first sign of an advanced type of contamination if nothing is done.
Plastic personal protective equipment or PPE has helped millions of people cope with the pandemic. It has allowed businesses to reopen and travel to resume, and many people are reluctant to quit.
Health authorities around the world have warned against the reuse of plastic PPE. The risk of infection is too high. Meanwhile, researchers are experimenting with disinfecting masks with ultraviolet light.
The widespread and continued use of masks is projected for the next few years. Billions more of these are likely to end up in the ocean unless people find a better way to stay safe.
However, Dr. Narain spoke with Dr. Josh Sharfstein on the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg of Public Health podcast. The expert suggested that countries should stay the course, which means they shouldn't relax environmental regulations to stimulate economic growth. If the big cities are part of this initiative, it would be easier to take advantage of the confinement to take care of the environment.