The whole world has been exposed to lockdowns for a considerable time because of the Covid-19 pandemic. It has numerous effects on human beings, both physically and psychologically. When people have been forced to stay at their homes, nature heals itself in the absence of humans. Covid-19 unquestionably has a good impact on nature. However, some materials have come into our lives with the pandemic, and these materials eventually become waste.
While people were trying to adapt their lifestyle according to the Covid-19 requirements, the Earth became a better place for nature and animals. For a long while, there were no people or vehicles around. Therefore, natural life has started to cure itself.
Because of the restricted -or completely banned in some places of the world- traveling, the emission of some sort of gasses that any vehicle cause offers a break for nature and climate.
Another aspect of the reduction in journeys is that fewer wildlife animals are killed on highways. For example, as claimed in the study, collecting data from 11 countries, animal deaths on the roads fell by %40 during the first pandemic restrictions. Also, the decreasing number of ships in the waterways, located in huge cities such as Istanbul, leads us to see different animals such as dolphins unusually.
So, as the human intervention is reduced due to the lockdown, the residents of nature benefit from this situation. However, according to Nature Ecology & Evolution, some animal species have had new challenges during the pandemic. For urban-dwelling animals such as monkeys whose food is provided by people may have difficulties in lockdowns.
However, the most significant damage caused by Covid-19 for nature is the increasing consumption of Covid-19 related products such as masks and sanitizer bottles. These masks include plastic or its derivatives which are nondisposable and harmful for nature.
According to an online survey about the usage of masks, collecting data from 1033 people of different ages and different countries, more than 25% of these people consume five masks within a week. 34% of the individuals contributing to the survey dispose of the masks as mixed waste, and 19% of individuals throw them in the street, while 3% of individuals flush the mask in the toilet and 10% burn the mask. The percentage of the people who label the mask as a dangerous waste is only 11%.
This amount of waste thrown insensibly becomes a threat to nature. These insensibly thrown products harm the environment.
Lockdown era and Covid-19 inevitably have negative and positive effects on people, animals, and the environment. While the absence of human beings lets the original residents of nature live, the increasing amount of plastic consumption harms the environment conversely.
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