How Nature Restored Amid Lockdown
With the COVID-19 cases reaching more than 37000 Infected in India and 3.34 Million worldwide, India has decided to enter the 3rd Lockdown which has been imposed by the Central Government. With various New reports about the looming Economy crisis and Increasing death rate, Every resident is being horned in by fear and uncertainty about the Future. With many claiming this is nature‚Äôs response to uncontrolled Human actions that have been harming the environment and our planet, there have been reports which compatible with the fact that we need to tone down those activities which are crippling our environment. Here are a few examples consistent with the same adage; we need to change how we go about doing things.
Positive news is about the water bodies in India, where an estimate of 40 million liters of sewage and wastewater being dumped into the rivers by urban cities and factories was reported by a Centre Pollution Control board(CPCB). However, within 10-15 days after the 22nd march lockdown, CPCB has recorded signs of improvement in the water bodies. Based on Real-time water monitoring by the CPCB in 36 points in the river Ganga, 27 of those points showed a significant rise in water quality which were suitable for bathing and propagation of wildlife and fisheries.
‚ÄúImprovement in Ganga water is a function of quality and quantity. Water is not being lifted by industries, so there is more flow in the river, and pollutants are getting diluted. At the same time, effluents are not being discharged.‚Äù So it can be safely said that ‚ÄúIf you leave nature on its own, it survives and comes back to life‚Äù, however, do we want such changes to occur due to pandemic. Isn‚Äôt there a more viable option to help safeguard our waters.
Continuing on the positive note, wildlife in India and all over the world have begun to flourish amidst the Lockdown. With the absence of vehicles and a lack of human activities, many animals have started showing themselves among human locations. In Delhi, troops of monkeys are roaming around the Rashtrapati Bhawan presidential compound. In Mumbai, peacocks and Flamingos are seen in flocks around the city can be seen perched over park cars and compounds. Leopards of the Aarey Milk colony have started moving into human locations. In roadways near Gir Forest, in Gujarat, where previously only Asiatic lions would be seen, Sambar deer have begun roaming in herds. Nilgai (blue Cow) in Noida, Chital deer in Dehradun, Elephants roaming the streets past shuttered shops in the south, just goes to show that wildlife is flourishing amid the lockdown. A Himalayan black bear last week wandered into Gangtok, capital of the northeastern state of Sikkim, a rhino spotted in Nepal amid streets are all signs of how even animals have begun to feel the absence of the human.
Air pollution has considerably reduced all over India as it has been reported by various environmental organizations. According to IQAir, a Swedish company specializing in dealing with Airborne Pollutants, six out of ten most polluted urban populated cities are situated in India: Ghaziabad, Delhi, Noida, Gurugram, etc. Some of the Highest pollution-related deaths occur in India, as per the December 2019 report by the Global Alliance of Health and Pollution, with numbers reaching more than 2 million every year. During the First lockdown month March, the PM (atmospheric particulate matter) had decreased by 20% and nitrogen dioxide by 15%. NASA satellites have recorded that the aerosol levels have been the lowest compared to 20 years and will continue to do so in northern parts of India.
Many videos and photographs have gone viral with people claiming the view outside their houses has changed considerably. One of the popular viral photos were of people from Punjab and Uttar Pradesh being able to glimpse the Himalayan Mountain ranges from their rooftops. People are sharing photographs of the India gate which looks amazing now in the morning sun as compared to 2019 foggy conditions. The results are profoundly clear as to what is affecting the air we breathe in.
While certain changes to the environment are truly noticeable with the lockdown‚Äîlower aerosol levels, better air quality, and bird activity‚Äîexperts hope that these will inspire people to maintain their concern towards the environment even after the lockdown. Ecologist and sustainability educator Harini Nagendra hopes ‚ÄúIf this period can make us realize we have a right to bird song, clean air, landscape views, we can push government for a better policy for a better life,‚Äù she said.