As COVID-19 proceeds to progressively wreck human immune systems; it seems to be healing the Earth. Nature has started to make extravagant amends for our misconduct in the past decades. If I may put it in the words of some radical environmentalists, “Mother Earth’s antibiotics seem to be working just fine!”.You must have read the stories about Dolphins returning to Venetian waterways and large holes in the Ozone layer closing up. So, on this World Environment Day, let’s see how well have the Indian ecosystems healed.
The River is Clean
The holy river Ganges appears to have traveled back in time. As a result of the dramatic fall in industrial pollutant levels, the Ganges seems to be cleaner than it was back in 1986. In fact, the Uttarakhand Pollution Control Board has certified the waters at Har-Ki-Pauri to be fit for drinking. Not only has its self-purification capacity increased, but its fauna seems to be flourishing too. The Ganga Dolphins have been spotted in parts of Kolkata and Bihar after decades.
The Coast is Pink
As a result of reduced human activities in and around the city, Flamingos have thronged the Mumbai beaches. The number of flamingos has shot up by 25% as compared to the previous year when it was 1.2 lakh. Another reason for this drastic increase is the reduction in fishing activities. Lesser fishing has led to an increase in the fish biomass, providing ample food for the exuberant birds.
The Sky is Blue
As a result of the imposed lockdown, it’s now safer to breathe in metro cities like Delhi. Limited vehicle movements in the city has led to a rapid drop in air pollution levels. The WHO had ranked New Delhi as the most polluted city in the World in 2014. At that time, the usual AQI (Air Quality Index) of the city hovered around 200 viz 25% above the safe limits. At the pollution peaks, the AQI crossed 900, and sometimes it even went off the measurable scale. Post lockdown, the AQI levels of New Delhi have fallen below 20. Due to the cleaner air quality in Delhi, people there could se not 1 but 2 rainbows after an evening rain which left the Delhites in awe. The clear skies bring tears to the eyes of Delhites who have suffered the Delhi smogs for years.
There are many more fantastic changes, that are yet to be discovered. As we wear masks, the earth breathes again. I hope each one of us takes a lesson home today. And, when it’s time to restart the world, we do it in the greenest way possible.