How is Covid 19 Affecting the Environment?

How is Covid 19 Affecting the Environment? It has been widely discussed that the COVID-19 shut down has improved the environment world wide.  According to Scientific American, carbon emissions have been cut by an estimated 5% from last year.  That means the crisis is creating the largest ever fall in CO2 emissions. With reduced use of planes and automobiles, air pollution has cleared in most parts of the world.  Satellite imagery shows the clearest views of Earth and its specific features ever see from satellites.  Even the canals of Venice, widely known for their pollution, are clearing. According to USA Today, there is a 5 -10% drop in air pollutants in New York and carbon monoxide emissions have dropped by 50%. So, should we all breathe a sigh of relief?  Is this a time to celebrate?  While less fuel use and emissions are wonderful, there are still some serious concerns. Retailers’ fear of reusable bags have caused an uptick in the use of plastic bags; what is happening to those bags?  If people are not going into stores to recycle them, will they become landfill?  Curbside pick-up is a blessing to many who do not want to go into stores, but what happens to cars while people are waiting?  Idling is on the increase!  The biggest question is what will happen when restrictions are over?  Will old habits recur and pollution levels simply return to their previous levels? We must take action now to minimize plastic bags landing in landfill.  Everyone needs to remember to either recycle their bags now, or store them until they feel comfortable entering stores and recycle them at that time.  The Village film recycling program should not be forgotten.  Take the bags to the police station or store them until the Village Hall reopens.  We must take action to minimize the extent of idling.  Idling for more than 20 seconds uses more gas than shutting down and restarting car engines. The biggest question is how can we encourage people to continue the progress in reducing pollution levels once restrictions are lifted?  I challenge each and every individual to ponder upon these issues and decide what they can do to keep our planet healthy as the health to humans returns.
-Marilyn Fish