Lockdown Leads to Positive Environmental Impact
As the UK gets to grips with operation lockdown the natural world outside is making some remarkable transformations right under our noses. It’s not a case of more bad news here in fact quite the opposite, so if there’s one thing we can all take responsibility and enjoyment from is the improvements to the environment.
Air quality in big cities is improving according to scientists, and the reasons for this don’t require much thinking. The reduction in vehicles on the road and subsequent decreased pollution levels is having a positive impact on the environment. The level of toxic pollutants that are responsible for killing nearly as many people in 2019 as smoking did in the same year are at a third of their usual levels in some parts of the UK. Birmingham, London and Manchester are all experiencing between 33% and 50% reductions in tiny particle pollution, and Nitrogen Dioxide NO2 has seen up to 20% drops across the board. It has even been suggested by some scientists that the improvements in air quality will help reduce the number of deaths from COVID-19 during the lockdown period.
The slowdown in economic activity has also driven down emissions; the last time emissions fell significantly was during the 2008/9 recession. Again it doesn’t take much thought to understand why, with all of the below public services either cancelled or running minimal or essential timetables only;
While the drops in emissions and pollutants are great news for the environment there is potential for unclear impacts elsewhere which we are yet to see evidence of. for example, with more people staying at home, demand for electricity and energy is soaring which will need to be supplied, likely in more ways than one. The data and analysis of this will take time to be conclusive and a final say won’t be close until after the end of any lockdown sanctions currently imposed.
With significantly less footfall and normal day-to-day business there has been a huge reduction in commercial waste. Furthermore many businesses and services that are still in operation have had to adopt measures to continue operating, many of which are direct contributors to environmentally friendly practices. For example ‘contactless’ services mean huge reductions in paper usage, plastic and other materials. It is worth noting however that the huge increase in demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) means single use items that are not all recyclable may tilt the scale on this one.
There have been reports of dolphins returning to waters in Italy, however National Geographic have debunked the supporting photos. Wildlife in urban areas is a big beneficiary of the coronavirus situation. The unusual silence is believed to lead to a resurgence of wildlife activity. Wild animals in urban areas can change their habits to venture out of their normal surroundings with greater safety. We know our pets are enjoying having has all home at least!
So how can we help to keep some of these positive impacts in place post lockdown and coronavirus? The governments Road to Zero Strategy is one of the legislative implications already in place, which now has even greater supporting evidence for us all to acknowledge. Over the next 18 months there are dozens of new electric cars and vans due across a range of manufacturers.
So if you are already considering going green then now is as good of a time as any to start looking into it. For the commerical vehicle users out there we recently announced that a new electric van manufacturer was coming to the UK market with an impressive portfolio of vehicles.
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