Since the beginning of 2020, news of the panic caused by the Corona Virus, and the subsequent pandemic has been dominating headlines across the globe.
For many of us, lockdown and strict self-isolation rules have been in place for just over a month. Essentially, our lives have been put on pause whilst we wait for the numbers of people affected or dying from the virus to drop. Businesses have closed their doors, and many production lines have stopped altogether – they simply have no one to sell to right now. The world looks bleak, and the panic continues for now.
Amidst the doom and gloom though, there are news stories circulating of unexpected and beautiful things happening to the world since humans have retreated indoors. In fact, the sudden decrease in worldwide travel, the closing of doors from large companies, and less vehicles on the road all seem to be having a positive impact on our planet as a whole.
Venice’s clear canals
One of the first news stories to break was that Venice’s canals had become almost crystal clear, a sight that is unheard of in this incredibly popular tourist destination. Since self-isolation and quarantine rules have gone into effect, Venice has come to a standstill; the motor boats and gondolas that once paced the canals 24/7 have simply stopped.
Since then, nature has reclaimed the water. For the first time in some Venetian’s lives, they can see fish swimming through the canals. The bottom of the canals are fully visible, and the algae and plant life that live in the water are on full display. Swans paddle through the water, exploring the narrow waterways unlike ever before. Even more amazing is that some people claim to have seen and recorded dolphins playing in the waters of Venice, something that is otherwise unheard of.
So why is this happening? Quite simply, with the lack of traffic on the water, all the sediment and mud that the boats churn up day after day has been allowed to settle for the first time in about 60 years, leaving a cleaner and crystal clear view that everyone seems to enjoy.
Himalayas seen for the first time from Punjab
Some 4500 miles away from Venice, something else extraordinary is happening. Reports have stated that the residents of Punjab, a city in India, can now view the Himalayas from their homes.
With the mountain range being approximately 100 miles away from the city, this is an incredible sight that has been made possible because of the increased air quality that’s come with fewer cars on the road, fewer planes in the skies, and fewer industries pumping harmful gases into the atmosphere.
The ‘good’ air quality that the inhabitants of Punjab have been witnessing is the best in decades, and is lasting day after day so far. This is indeed a breath of fresh air to everyone in the area, who can not only see the beautiful Himalayan mountain range clearly, but will literally be feeling the positive effects of cleaner and fresher air.
Less air pollution
It’s not just India that’s seeing the positive effects of less air pollution.
Between the beginning of January and the end of February, China saw a sudden increase of air quality during their strictest months in quarantine. It makes sense. With complete stops in industrial activity and travel, less harmful particles and emissions are able to be released into the atmosphere, meaning more fresh air for China’s residents.
Satellite images from NASA show the amazing decrease in air pollution not just over Wuhan, where the first cases of Covid-19 were discovered, but the whole of China, in another unheard of instance.
This is a small forward step, but an important one. Did you know that the World Health Organization estimates that 4.6 million people are killed each year just from the effects of pollution?
Even though these new levels of fresher air are likely to be unsustainable in the long run, the current effects are staggering. It’s even been said that less air pollution is good for those who catch the virus, and could even ensure a better rate of survival.
Although the world has come to a stop for most of us, it seems clear that Mother Earth is enjoying this slower pace, and taking some time to repair herself.
Whilst the positive effects of this pandemic on the earth may be short lived, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that earth is on its way to fully healing, this may just be the sign we’ve been looking for to really understand how we can take better care of our planet.
Who knows, in the future, once we are free to roam again, perhaps travel will become eco-friendlier, something that we here at Preparture strive for every day. Perhaps production companies will find a less invasive way to create products or eliminate waste from their factories. Perhaps more people will decide to invest in electric vehicles. For now, it’s baby steps, but who knows where we could be once all this is over?
Are you noticing any benefits to the self-isolation period? Have you seen an influx of nature, or found solace in quieter surroundings, where there are now fewer vehicles?
Have you read our previous two posts on the Corona Virus? If you’re wondering how to keep yourself safe, check out our first post here. If you’ve got itchy feet and need a few traveler friendly ideas on how to keep yourself busy during self isolation, click here.
Whatever you do, make sure you stay safe, and don’t panic.