Coronavirus and ecology: the healing effect of the global epidemic | Join Japan

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Coronavirus and ecology: the healing effect of the global epidemic

Coronavirus and ecology: the healing effect of the global epidemic

News channels and social media feeds are quick to point out the negatives, but here in Join Japan we are to tell you that coronavirus has actually resulted in a bunch of positives – particularly in the environment.

Huge drop in air pollution

The coronavirus pandemic does have a positive effect on the environment. Analysts from the Finnish Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) estimate that over the month since the end of January CO₂ emissions in China have decreased by 25% compared to the levels of the same period in 2019. The reason for that is restrictive measures on the operation of power plants and factories and transport movement throughout the state introduced by Chinese government. Carbon Brief notes that annual greenhouse gas emissions could drop by one percent or more. This is a small, but quite symbolic decline for a developing country that prefers economic development over environment protection.

In addition, the air on the streets has become cleaner. For several months of the spread of coronavirus in China, scientists have already managed to register a reduction in the emissions of harmful nitrogen dioxide (NO₂) and carbon monoxide (CO) from industry and vehicles.

“It is the first time I observe such a drastic reduction in emissions over such a large area,” said Fei Liu, a NASA air quality researcher at Goddard Space Flight Center.

Other countries also report about reduction in harmful emissions due to coronavirus quarantine measures. The European Space Agency has noticed a similar reduction in NO₂ emissions in Europe, particularly in northern Italy. Traffic intensity has already decreased markedly in big US cities such as New York and Los Angeles, as well as in Moscow.

An interesting conclusion was made by an expert and environmental specialist from Stanford University, Marshall Burke. He states that two months of pollution reduction likely has saved much more lives than the coronavirus epidemic took. “Even under these more conservative assumptions, the lives saved due to the pollution reductions are roughly 20x the number of lives that have been directly lost to the virus,” Burke comments.

Nature is winning back

In Venice, for the first time in many years, the water in the canals became transparent and fish came back. Moreover, wild ducks have chosen several fountains in the historical center of Rome as their new home.

Thanks to India going into lockdown, along the coast of the eastern state of Odisha, over 475,000 endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles have come ashore to dig their nests and lay eggs – all sixty million of them.

As we can see, the spread of the coronavirus epidemic has led to a change in the behavioral patterns of human consumption. We at Join Japan hope that this will be the impetus for the development of environmentally friendly business models and eco - technologies. We, in turn, will continue to actively support eco-startups in the countries of Europe, Asia and CIS region. If you are looking for investors, we will be happy to help you!