Environment VS Pandemic



Alais Alzaga, Media Arts Editor

Have you ever wondered what impact COVID-19 has on the environment?

Well there are two ways to look at it. Most people say it has had a beneficial impact to the environment but there is also a part of this pandemic that is harmful.

clear waters in Venice

First, how is this fighting against climate change?

It became noticeable when the waters in Venice, Italy had become surprisingly clear for the first time in a long time.  Then on March 4th,2020 NASA reported significantly lower levels of nitrogen dioxide in China. This is when the world started to realize what an impact these lock downs are having. With less travel from boats, cars, public transportation, and even airplanes, there is now a major positive impact that is a step towards ending climate change.; except it wont last. Things will go back to normal at some point in time and the climate will revert back on its track of destruction.

How is this pandemic harmful to the environment?

There is something that might be counteracting this good impact: disposables, specifically medical disposables. Items like gowns, masks, gloves, and disinfecting wipes. These things are disposed of and replaced more often than you may think, leading to large waste.  Each time a health care professional enters a room with a COVID-19 positive patient, they get a new gown, mask, and gloves. It isn’t  just a doctor going in too, the nurse will come in and out multiple times throughout the day  along with the respiratory therapist, since COVID-19 is a respiratory virus. Disposing of so much so fast has a really negative impact on the environment, and with a second wave of this coming it will only get worse.

You could argue that this pandemic is helpful, distressing, or both towards the environment, but only time will tell.