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As we have seen, our battle against COVID-19 paved the way for some positive changes in the environment. However, all of these environmental impacts are believed to be short-term. As a result, it is time to establish a viable strategy for long-term benefit and sustainable environmental management. Just as the pandemic sparked a worldwide response, uniting us in our fight against the virus, a coordinated effort from all countries is likewise needed to save our planet.
As citizens, even our little actions can have a huge impact on our surroundings. While doing our usual daily tasks, we can still incorporate efforts that are beneficial to the environment.
Earth Conservation Icon Set
Photo by Gerd Altmann
(1) Green and Public Transportation Usage
As public transportation minimizes the number of individuals driving single-occupancy vehicles, it is friendlier to the environment. More fuel is saved, air pollution is lessened, and the region’s carbon footprint is lowered. Furthermore, individuals should be encouraged to ride bicycles for short distances, which is not only eco-efficient but also good for their health.
(2) Waste Management and Recycling
For waste disposal, we must tightly secure all trash in plastic bags. Due to the potential for COVID-19 transmission, we should not require garbage collectors to pick up any loose waste from the ground, beside or on top of trash cans, carts, or dumpsters. We must also ensure that all garbage is kept within the container. And for recycling, we have to make sure that all recyclables are rinsed and clean to prevent the transmission of disease.
(3) Choosing Sustainable Businesses for Online Purchases
Due to limited mobility and certain restrictions, people have turned to online shopping sites like Lazada and Shopee. However, this led to additional unnecessary plastic packaging. Some resellers have taken the initiative to use environmentally friendly methods of distributing items in order to help limit the use of plastic. They use shredded paper instead of bubble wrap, for example. These are the shops that we can consider patronizing.
(4) Reusable Face Mask Usage
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends using a mask that has at least two layers of fabric, or three, depending on the fabric used. We should use this instead of single-use versions to reduce waste.
(5) Reducing Energy Usage
With many people still working from home and spending more time indoors in general, it’s critical that we all do our part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Lighting is a major consumer of electricity in the home. When leaving a room, be sure to switch off the lights or, if possible, use natural light instead. According to Edison International, many appliances and devices waste electricity while in “off” or “standby” mode. Unplug televisions, cable boxes, computers, radios, and other electrical equipment when not in use. Look for power-saving options on your electronics and turn them on.
It is true that the environment is doing well, at least for the moment, as a result of the economic slowdown imposed due to the pandemic. But this momentary improvement in the environment should not be considered a “silver lining” to the situation. We haven’t seen the extent of its effects and the disruption it has caused might even have far-reaching consequences. Furthermore, it appears that as economic activity resumes, the pollution rate may increase again. But certainly, this pandemic emphasizes the importance of protecting not only ourselves but also the environment.