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What Can the COVID-19 Virus Tell Us About Environmental Pollution?

The spread of the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19, around the world wreaks havoc on economies and populations. However, with a reduction of human activity around the globe, one area that’s benefitting from the new normal is the environment.

With most of the world’s populations facing extended lockdowns and governments enforcing social-distancing guidelines, the natural environment is thriving. Social media posts about wildlife roaming around city centers show that our effect on the environment remains concerning.

Profound and Lasting Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Researchers around the world agree that the COVID-19 pandemic will have lasting effects on human industry. While many people view the virus as an invisible enemy, responses from national governments are equal to wartime controls and mandates on populations. While there have been positive environmental impacts from the coronavirus response, researchers warn that the benefits shouldn’t be overestimated.

The Costs of the COVID-19 Response

As the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been visible positive impacts on the environment. Although media outlets report improvements in air quality and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, the effects are only temporary according to researchers. At the same time, studies indicate that secondary pollutants like ground-level ozone have increased in some regions.

Nitrogen dioxide have decreased in the US, China, and Western Europe by as much as 60% during the pandemic. According to atmospheric scientists, these levels are unprecedented since they started monitoring air quality using satellites in the 1990s. While most of the environment is healing during the pandemic, researchers did find one concerning increase in pollution.

Surface Ozone Pollution at Ground-Level

One pollutant that has increased according to studies was surface-level ozone. This happens when there’s a drop in nitrogen dioxide pollution in major industrial centers around the world. Surface-level ozone is a secondary pollutant that forms when sunlight and high temperatures catalyze and create chemical reactions in the lower atmosphere.

Although researchers found an increase in these pollutants around the world, the decrease in nitrogen dioxide over major population centers remains promising. Considering this unintended experiment’s data can help researchers to develop strategies and methods that can improve atmospheric conditions in the future.

EEC Environmental and Pollution Control in the Future

Once the pandemic subsides and the world returns to normal, there will still be environments that require remediation and pollution control. EEC Environmental has a team of experts that can help public and private entities to understand the scope of these problems and develop innovative solutions to remediate environments.

The industrial revolution led to large-scale changes in our environment. What the COVID-19 pandemic shows is that taking any effort to reduce environmental pollution and remaining committed to the environment’s wellbeing remains a noble pursuit.

To find out how EEC Environmental can help your organization remediate a site or if you need to design a pollution prevention program, reach out to one of our experts today.