Shelter-in-Place Benefits the Environment

If you have been thinking the skies look clearer in Castro Valley lately, you are right. The shelter-in-place rules are asking everyone to stay at home for everything but essential errands and jobs, due to COVID-19, and has had unintended environmental benefits around the world.

Because of the shelter-in-place orders, people around the globe are driving and flying less, which has resulted in better air and water quality. 

 According to NBC News the water in the Venice canals has become much clearer because of the lack of boat traffic. Now a person can see the fish swimming in the water, instead of murky, dark water. 

Because many manufacturers around the globe have also closed, there have been far fewer emissions from factories, which has reduced the amount of pollution.  

The amount of nitrogen dioxide above China has decreased dramatically since the quarantine in China began. The restrictions contributed to a 25 percent drop in China’s carbon dioxide emissions over four weeks beginning in late January, compared to the same time last year, according to Lauri Myllyvirta, an analyst at the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air.

In India, the cities are also less polluted than usual, and according to CNN, the people in the city of Jalandhar are now able to see the peaks of the Himalayan mountains for the first time in decades. 

Not only has the amount of pollution abroad decreased, but it has also decreased in America. In San Francisco the number of particulate matter has decreased by 40 percent during shelter-in-place, according to NBC News. 

In Castro Valley, although the trails of Lake Chabot are still open, the facilities are closed, and people are not allowed to have parties in the picnic area. This will allow plants and animals to thrive without human interference. 

“I can tell there is a difference in the environment. The air quality in Castro Valley has improved,” said junior Haley Matthews.

Although these benefits are temporary, they could show scientists what steps to take in order to stop climate change. 

Even though the environment seems to be benefitting from the shelter-in-place, some fear that factories will be able to dump their waste into bodies of water and pollute them, with no repercussions. 

  “Donald Trump has taken advantage of the virus to suspend all environmental laws and enforcement. The effects of this action is unknown at the current time but will likely be a rush to dump,” said CVHS AP Environmental Science teacher Nathan McCreary. 

The shelter-in-place around the world is helping ecosystems thrive, however those effects may be reversed by Trump’s lenient environmental policies during this time. 

13 thoughts on “Shelter-in-Place Benefits the Environment

  • May 11, 2020 at 10:04 pm
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    I have definitely see a different in the way things feel as well. its crazy to think that in to months this much has changed and how much we affect the planet.

  • May 8, 2020 at 12:53 pm
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    I totally agree with this I never thought about how this could affect our environment in a good way. If this two month period has helped so much then imagine how much can actually change if we do try to help our environment without being in quarantine. (Ms.Johanssons English class)

  • May 8, 2020 at 10:52 am
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    This just goes to show that even in the darkest of times, light can shine. I think that if we continue to be conscious about our environmental impact, during the quarantine and afterwards, we can successfully combat climate change for years to come.

  • May 8, 2020 at 9:45 am
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    Since the shelter-in-place was established, every country around the globe have reduced travel which actually protects the environment more. I feel more comfortable with the shelter-in-place order because everyone is trying to feel safe from the COVID-19 pandemic. I believe the environment has changed and made our planet Earth a whole lot better, but I’m worried about the crops that people grow could get infected with the virus. I really hope that the shelter-in-place order will die down soon and we can go back to our new normal life as any living being.

  • May 7, 2020 at 10:49 am
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    This has been extremely interesting to see, I know that this is a crazy time but I’m happy some thing good is coming out of it, even if its only temporary. Just yesterday I was telling my mom that I could see the top of mount diablo and the air around it wasn’t as hazy. Also over the bay I can see less smog sitting over it. Though this is a time of crisis at least we are giving earth a temporary moment to breath.

  • May 7, 2020 at 1:27 am
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    I think it’s pretty interesting that although the environment may be seeing a pretty immediate benefit from this quarantine, the long run may actually yield a net negative for the nature as a result of US policy change. According to a podcast I listen to, it’s pointed out that nature and endangered species would actually be more at risk during this time, because conservation groups can’t help out as much given the orders to cease non-essential work. Together with the shift to more lenient environmental policies, it seems like this period of thriving for wildlife is just the calm before the storm.

  • May 6, 2020 at 12:35 pm
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    I’m glad that the environment is doing better. I myself have noticed the clear skies and low pollution. Summer is coming soon, and I hope the blue of the sky stays longer. Still, I don’t mind a hit in air quality to go out again.

  • May 5, 2020 at 4:10 pm
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    I believe that this shelter in place really does benefit the environment because of the decrease of human activities occurring. With many Americans staying home, they are putting less carbon emissions into the atmosphere, and is helping the environment by making it cleaner and better.

  • May 5, 2020 at 11:21 am
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    I think this is such a good thing for the environment! I love that animals are finally able to come out from hiding and ecosystems can flourish. The virus was important for the earth to cleanse itself and finally get a break from the usual extensive amounts of pollution. I hope that once we return to normal activities, the effort to protect the environment will not be forgotten.

  • May 5, 2020 at 11:19 am
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    Throughout this quarantine, I have been only looking at what I am missing as a result of COVID-19. I never thought about how this quarantine would benefit the environment due to the sudden lack of greenhouse gases being expelled into the environment. I always knew that China was one of the most polluted countries in the world and to hear that over the last four weeks there was a, “25 percent drop in China’s carbon dioxide emissions,” is finally some good news to hear. Of course this doesn’t make up for all the lives COVID-19 is taking however I think it’s great that the quarantine is saving Earth from our greenhouse gas emissions. Now that I read about this, I have noticed that the air outside feels lighter and cleaner. This article opened my eyes and showed me that even with this quarantine, there is always light at the end of the tunnel.

  • May 5, 2020 at 10:27 am
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    That’s really cool. I think it’s awesome that we’re thinking about the positive sides to the coronavirus and not only the negative parts. Maybe the coronavirus is something our Earth needed? I agree that even though these benefits are only temporary, this may be exactly what we needed to stop climate change.

  • May 5, 2020 at 10:05 am
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    I can see the difference this is making. There is more wildlife around, and the sky is more clear. However, it should not have taken a global pandemic to help our planet recover. The fact that there is so much less pollution, to the point that it has stopped decreasing visibility in several places shows that there should have been actions taken in the past to prevent it from becoming as bad as it was. If governments and factories take advantage of this situation to dup toxic chemicals or drop all funding for environmental programs, then someone needs to speak up and stop them.

  • May 5, 2020 at 9:38 am
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    I hope that officials and important people think about these things when making executive decisions. Now we know what not needed in our life and is truly harming us. If this is the results of just a month or two think about the long terms effects of some changes for the better. (Ms. Johanssons english)

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