The global health crisis caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) is having worrying social and economic consequences. On top of those, the third element of sustainable development is the environment, which has seen an improvement. This a bitter sweet news due to the situation we are currently living.
While the affected countries are applying various measures not only to stop the contagion, contain it, but also to try and find ways to eliminate the virus once and for all, they are also looking for the ideal formula to ensure that its economic impact is as small as possible. The unusual images of half the world’s population confined and an industrial and economic activity at less than half its potential due to the imposed quarantines, give the environmental component a breathing space.
A clear example is what has happened to the water quality of the canals of Venice, in Italy, the second country with the most cases of COVID-19. Images shared by various users through social networks show crystal-clear waters. With less traffic in the canals, the sediments carried by the hundreds of boats stay at the bottom and reduce the greenish colour murky water that is usual in Venice.
La laguna si riappropria di Venezia, senza scarichi e senza traffico si vede il fondo dei canali
Dovremmo riflettere sullo sfruttamento dell'overtourism a Venezia pic.twitter.com/ChnG1WXNlu
— Palli Caponera (@PalliCaponera) March 15, 2020
— Venezia Pulita / Clean Venice (@VeneziaPulita) March 10, 2020
On the other hand, satellite images published by NASA and the European Space Agency have shown that the economic slowdown, as a containment measure for the pandemic, has cleaned the air in countries such as China, Italy and even Spain. The dramatic decrease in NO2 is clear evidence of the human influence on global warming.
There are many insights we can draw from this global pandemic, and one of them may also be to focus on sustainability. To slow down our lifestyle and rethink the way we relate to our environment, in order to find the formula that gives us the balance between the social, the economic and the environmental.