COVID-19 helps the environment

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Audrey Mooney

Audrey Mooney's road clear of cars and litter

Audrey Mooney, Writer

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused 29,465 deaths in the U.S. as of April 15, 2020, though the Stay-at-Home order might be good for the environment.  Right now we are in lockdown, which means you are not supposed to be out, and most people have to work from home.  Americans are driving fewer miles and this lowers the amount of pollution in the atmosphere.   Since everyone is supposed to stay home there will be very few people needing transportation.  Transportation makes up 23% of global carbon emissions, which is a fair amount.   Driving caused 72% and aviation caused 11% of the transportation sector’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Since people haven’t been driving around as much, there is a decrease in garbage on the roads. Garbage is not good for the environment and pollutes our world. When people throw garbage out their car window, an animal might eat it and could get severely hurt or die.  Garbage might also eventually end up in the ocean and then a whale or any sea-creature could eat it and be harmed or killed.   I spoke to an anonymous person who picks up litter alongside the road and he stated that he has picked up 40% of his usual load since the stay at home order was enacted.   Fewer cars on the roads means that there will be fewer accidents and fewer broken car parts on the side of the road. 

The air quality is improving due to factories being shut down, coal consumption and industrial output.  In China, carbon emissions have gone down about 18%  between early February and mid-March.  Pollution in New York has gone down 50% because of the stay at home order says Smithsonian and BBC.  Some say that the air quality level will not last long because we are trying to build up our economy.  Once we are not under the stay at home order people will go back to work and the pollution will go back to normal.  The world is a better place right now because there is not much pollution, good air quality, and less garbage.