There was a time when we came out of the house to achieve freedom and now it’s the time to stay inside to be free from the Covid-19 pandemic. As of this publication, more than 500K have been reported in India and the situation is getting worse day by day. The current pandemic is considered as the most crucial global health calamity of the century and the greatest challenge that the humankind faced since the Second World War.
The virus that causes Covid-19, novel coronavirus, is mainly transmitted through droplets generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or exhales. These droplets are too heavy to hang in the air, and quickly fall on floors or surfaces. You can be infected by breathing in the virus if you are within close proximity of someone who has Covid-19, or by touching a contaminated surface and then your eyes, nose or mouth.
Covid-19 has severely demobilised the global economy. Many of the countries have undergone complete lockdowns. All types of transport facilities are suspended with special exemption to those associated with essential commodities, and all institutions are closed. Even the most advanced economies are staring at increasing unemployment rates and extended recessions. Even if the economies come out of recession, many sectors such as tourism, travel, sports and entertainment will continue to be in distress in the medium term.
From the very beginning of the civilisation, humans have been using the nature for their own benefits. Such exploitation has only gone up significantly in the last several decades. The lockdown might just be reversing that although such reversal is temporary. Due to non-functioning of industries, the industrial waste emission has decreased to a great extent. Vehicles are hardly found on the road resulting in almost zero emission of green-house gases and toxic tiny particles to the environment. Use of fossil fuels has lowered considerably, pollution levels in tourist spots have reduced, and ozone layer has been found to have revived.
While the pandemic seems to make a positive impact on the environment, there are some negative effects as well. To begin, the pandemic has led to the abandonment of many environmental sustainability programs in the United States; smaller municipalities have halted recycling programs due to the risks associated with the spread of the virus. Likewise, Italy has banned infected residents from sorting their waste at all. Additionally, many corporations have overturned disposable bag bans and begun relying once again on single-use plastics, and many restaurants are no longer accepting reusable containers; in early March, Starbucks announced a temporary ban on using reusable cups. Furthermore, with more and more consumers isolated at home, there has been an increase in number of online purchases and meal deliveries made. This has not only caused the disposal of more single-use plastic packaging, but has further required more fossil fuels to be burned for the individual transportation and distribution of goods. There has also been an increase in medical waste with much of the personal protective equipment that healthcare professionals are using can only be worn once before being disposed of. Hospitals in Wuhan, for example, produced over 200 tons of waste per day during the peak of their outbreak, compared to an average of less than 50 tons prior. Even if mass isolation were aiding in the reduction of climate change, it would not be a sustainable way of cleaning up the environment.
The doctors are trying their best to come up with a vaccine. On a personal account, one can take precautions to avoid catching the virus. If one feels sick one should rest, drink plenty of fluid, and eat nutritious food. One should stay in a separate room from other family members, use a dedicated bathroom if possible, and clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces. Everyone should keep a healthy lifestyle at home, maintain a healthy diet, sleep, stay active, and make social contact with loved ones through the phone or Internet. Children need extra love and attention from adults during difficult times. Keep to regular routines and schedules as much as possible. It is normal to feel sad, stressed, or confused during a crisis. Talking to people who are close, such as friends and family can help. If one feels overwhelmed, it is advisable to talk to a health worker or counselor.
We all agree this is rather a difficult time the entire world is going through. But we will get over it sooner or later, and we all will emerge stronger. Let us stay indoors as much as possible and take immense care of our diet.
STAY HOME, STAY SAFE!
-Bhavna Jagnani (One of the prize winners of Covid-19 Article Writing Competition in the 13-17 years age group)
Picture Credits: ubc.ca
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