It is hard to think global warming is a hoax as we witness the earth cleansing during the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.
As nations are in lockdown, there are very few people in the streets, no traffic in sight, and maybe a plane in the sky here and there. Air pollution is decreasing at rapid levels in a short period of time.
If we go back to “business as usual” following the pandemic, we put our health and the health of the earth at risk.
According to the World Health Organization, deaths related to exposure to air pollution are of pandemic proportions, with 7 million around the world each year.
Far more people die annually from the hazardous air that they breathe in than the number of people who have died from the Coronavirus this year.
People react to issues when it affects them personally and/or when it has been deemed serious by the media and government leaders. What would happen if more people knew about the serious dangers of air pollution? Would we see more action if this subject attracted more attention?
India has 21 of the world’s 30 most polluted cities and its people are regularly exposed to two hazardous air pollutants: PM 2.5 and Nitrogen Dioxide.
PM 2.5 (Particulate Matter) causes haziness in the air, which limits visibility in and around cities. Because of the Coronavirus pandemic, PM 2.5 and Nitrogen Dioxide levels in the atmosphere of India dropped 71 percent just one week after the country entered a lockdown.
India is not the only country that is witnessing significant decreases in air pollution during the pandemic. Around the world, air is cleaner.
This serves as a wake-up call: it is critical that government and business leaders around the world institute policies that show a commitment to investment in a cleaner future.
If nothing is done to address global warming following the COVID-19 pandemic, the world will miss a golden opportunity to alter our collective emissions footprint.
Scientists and climate change activists have been voicing their opinions throughout the current crisis.
“Both viral spread and climate change are gray rhinos,” said author and global warming expert Michael Wucker in an interview with the publication Yale Environment360. “It’s the two-ton thing that’s coming at you, and most of the time we downplay it or neglect it. We kind of miss the obvious.”
Policies need to be instituted now in order to change our atmosphere forever.