Today marks the 50th Earth Day. And this year the annual reminder feels more significant than ever as we find ourselves in the midst of a global shift. Never in our modern times has the Earth been given such time and space to heal than the past few weeks and months, when many cities and countries find themselves in lockdown.
We've rounded up five of our favourite, unexpected ways in which the planet is benefitting during the pandemic.
The Himalayas are Visible For The First Time in Decades
According to CNN, locals in the Punjab region of India have been able to see the Himalayas for the first time in decades due to reduced levels of pollution since lockdown in India.
Delhi is believed to have experienced a 44% reduction in air pollution levels in the first days of lockdown.
Air Pollution Decreases Dramatically in China
multiple reports estimate that China’s quarantine has saved more than 100 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions from entering the atmosphere —which is about the equivalent of what Chile produces in a year. images from NASA show the dramatic reduction in levels of air pollution over china.
The Venice Canals Are Cleaner
It isn’t just China that are seeing improvements in their environment. Locals in Venice Italy have noticed how clear the water appears due to the lack of motor boats and general crowds and pollution. These clearer waters have even led to wildlife appearing in the canals with swans, fish and more spotted in recent days.
Air Traffic is Reduced To Post 9/11 Levels
With the majority of flights cancelled, airports are almost as empty as they were in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. Aviation emissions — which accounted for 2.4% of global CO2 emissions in 2018, according to the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) — have dropped significantly.
Road Traffic Reduced by 73% in The U.K
Both Traffic Technology Today and The Guardian have highlighted that the United Kingdom’s reduced traffic, which has decreased drastically by 73% “to levels not seen since 1955.” the reduction in traffic and congestion has significantly improved air quality.