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COVID-19 and The Climate Change

This article will refer to the topic "Covid-19 and the climate change".

We all are well versed with the prevailing situation of the world in the 21st century. Large number of infectious diseases like Ebola, Swine flu, Human monkey pox, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), etc. have attacked the human society. Though these diseases have originated in animals but we cannot deny the fact that it is the result of our own karma. We, the humans being the most intelligent creature on Earth, inspite of protecting it has done most harm to it.

Nowadays the world is fighting with a new infectious disease i.e. Coronavirus or Covid-19 which is being caused by a newly discovered Coronavirus. It has now become a pandemic. The Covid-19 pandemic is the health crisis affecting the world at large. It is now being declared as a greatest challenge which the world has faced since World War II. Every country whether it is developed or developing has become its slave.

It is moving like a wave in which you cannot bear a single mistake. It is not only a health crisis rather it has a devastating impact on social, economic and political aspects of the countries as well.

The world's greatest cities are deserted, people lost their jobs, economy is destroyed, with no idea when normality will return.

SIMILARLY climate change is also a serious problem which is affecting every country. It has a destructive impact on country's economy, human lives as well as on animals too.

Weather patterns are changing, sea levels are rising, global warming is increasing and greenhouse gas emissions are now at their highest level. Climate change is a global challenge which the countries can tackle only through coordination and unity. If immediate action is not taken then the world's average surface temperature is likely to surpass 3 degrees centigrade this century. It is an issue that requires an urgent solutions at the international level.

From 1880 to 2012, average global temperature has increased by 0.85 degree centigrade. Glaciers are melting due to high temperature of Earth and which in consequence has increased the sea level. Looking at the on-going emissions of greenhouse gases it is being predicted that by the end of this century, the increase in global temperature will exceed 1.5 degree centigrade compared to 1850 to 1900. Global emissions of carbon di oxide have increased by almost 50 percent since 1990.

To provide strength to fight against climate change, countries adopted the PARIS

AGREEMENT at the COP21 in Paris, which came into force in November 2016. The historic Paris Agreement provides an opportunity for countries to boost the global responses to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degree Celsius and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degree Celsius.

BUT now the climate is reborn in a matter of months. The whole world has transformed due to Covid-19. Thousands of people have died and the entire way of life of people has changed. Streets are deserted, malls and theatres are closed, traveling is restricted, factories are closed down due to strict lockdown imposed by the government.

The measures taken to control the spread of Covid-19 has led to some unbelievable results like sudden drop in carbon emissions. The skies have cleared around Beirut Lebanon- a city known for high levels of air pollution. Compared with last year, levels of pollution in New York have reduced by nearly 50% because of measures taken to prevent the spread of the Covid-19.

In Europe, satellite images show nitrogen di oxide emissions fading away over northern Italy.

Air pollution is a serious health risk causing many diseases like skin cancer, lung cancer, death from stroke, etc. Actions taken to control the spread of Covid-19 have reduced economic activity and led to temporary improvements in air quality. Carbon di oxide and greenhouse gases which are mostly responsible for air pollution have seen a temporary reduction in their amount due to strict lockdown.

People in Punjab say they are seeing parts of Himalayas clearly for the first time in decades due to lockdown imposed for controlling the spread of novel coronavirus. According to CNN, some parts of the Himalayas can currently be seen from over 100 miles away. The Dhauladhar mountain range of Himanchal is visible after 30 years, from Jalandhar after drop in air pollution.

After imposition of the nationwide lockdown, the industries have been shut down which led to significant improvements in the quality of holy Ganga due to reduction in dumping of industrial waste into it. According to the real time water monitoring data of the Central Pollution Control Board, out of the 36 monitoring units placed at various points of the Ganga river, the water quality around 27 points was suitable for bathing and propagation of wildlife and fisheries.

BUT the benefits are only short-termed. It is high time that we must understand the long-term risk possessed by the climate change. We must realize our faults and work for the improvement of climate change. These improvements to the environment resulting from Covid-19 response may be reversed by a rapid expansion of economic activities once the pandemic is over.

Like Covid-19 climate change is also a big challenge for human lives. We all aware about the saying that "PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE" therefore delay in responding to threats whether from pandemics or from climate change, increases human costs.

THE COVID-19 or CORONAVIRUS is like an opportunity for us to mend our mistakes by following the path which tackles climate change. It can be taken as a rebirth of environment and means through which we can create a Green and Clean world for us. Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the UN has said:
"The key to tackling the climate crisis is the big emitters".

Therefore, without their efforts all our endeavors to tackle the climate change will go in vain. Any short-term environment benefits as a result of Covid-19 are no substitute for planned and sustained action on climate change.

This pandemic has given a chance for us to go back to our drawing boards and to take its recovery as a foundation to provide for a safe and healthy world obeying the norms of sustainable development. We must strive for greater protection of biodiversity and natural environment which will reduce the risks of future pandemics. We don't have any right to harm the environment because we all are a guest here not the owner of it.

Now It Is High Time To Go Green.

  2. Covid-19: what we can learn from wartime efforts [ By Adrienne Bernhard]
  3. An article related to health of river Ganga during lockdown [From Economic Times].
Written By: Ritika Singh, University Of Allahabad

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