By Dr Saeed Ahmed Ali
LAHORE, May 31 (APP):The worldwide safety measures to restrict mobility and physical interactions of people to halt the spread of deadly coronavirus have affected the socio-economic landscape of the globe.
However, the consistent measures of the world community during the last six months to contain the spread of virus had also helped in dropping the greenhouse gases’ emission level to a commendable proportion.
Globally, the socio-economic activities have declined which resulted in halting operations of power plants and industrial units. Likewise, the transport operations were also restricted to a great deal.
Therefore, around the world the air pollution has dramatically reduced. The situation had led towards reduction in concentrations of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter in the major cities of the world.
According to latest statistics of the World Health Organization (WHO), the coronavirus pandemic had globally generated an unprecedented impact on environment and eco-degradation.
The WHO in its recent report has said breathing air quality was essential for people health as 90 percent world population was living in such residential zones where poor air quality had exceeded the permissible limits.
However, the COVID-19 had also complicated the eco-degradation process as in major cities, the recycling methods had been suspended due to transport and machinery halt.
The United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur Mr. David R. Boyd said COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of having a safe, clean and sustainable natural environment by ensuring the standards of mitigating the eco-degradation.
He, however, expressed concerns over lowering the environmental standards or related measures around the globe.
Mr. Boyd said that the science was clear that people living in areas that have experienced higher levels of air pollution, faced increased risk of premature death from COVID-19. He said that access to clean water was essential in preventing people from contracting and spreading the virus.
Talking to APP, noted environmentalist, Dr Mehmood Khalid Qamar said due to the lockdowns nitrous and carbon dioxides emission had dropped to a significant level.
An official of Pakistan Meteorological Department said the reduced transport activities in Karachi, Lahore, Multan, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi, Peshawar and Quetta had positive sign on air quality during the last two months.
Similarly, the United States Space Agency, NASA’s Earth Observatory has released satellite photos amid the pandemic spread, addressing eco-degradation patterns, which occurred due to non-movement of motor vehicles drastically and show that the climate change impact on eco-degradation was immense, whereas environmental pollution has been declined.
The Sustainable Development Policy institute (SDPI) climate change expert Kashif Salik said that amid COVID-19, the price of oil has slumped down almost two-thirds since December 2019, adding, the vehicles’ sales has fallen significantly since March, 2020, with motorway traffic down by 83 percent, which has a direct impact on human eco-cycle. He said that Covid-19 has changed the universal lifestyles of human.
According to the local Meteorological office data, the Air Quality Index (AQI) of Lahore has significantly improved since the government has limited the movement of people and transport amid the COVID-19.
A senior pulmonologist of Jinnah Hospital said after a very long time the Lahore city has witnessed a very fine quality of air, adding, the patients of respiratory disorders were not complaining about the breath shortness, stinging eyes or nausea problems.