Environmental warning of COVID-19

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Brightly shining coastline caused by the biolumiescent plankton

COVID-19 is a respiratory syndrome that has caused many damage to economic or human casualties etc. So people refrained from social activities through social distinctions or self-quarantine. However, due to the environmental changes that resulted from this, I think COVID-19 is warning about an environmental to mankind.  

 It shone brightly with blue fluorescent light along the coastline of Acapulco Beach, Mexico. The local tourism agency said the luminescence was the result of biochemical reactions caused by the bioluminescent plankton flocked that came to the beach.

Marine biologist Dr. Enrique Ayala Duval attributed the phenomenon to the recent decline in people's activities on the beach. In fact, some places have seen this phenomenon steadily. But it’s the first time in 60 years that this has happened on that beach. This is because the beach was crowded with tourists before, and there were many people riding motorcycles on the beach. 

 According to a map showing the nitrogen dioxide in the atmosphere among air quality data released by NASA, there is a big difference in China's airspace in January and February 2020. Although it was visibly dark before the outbreak of COVID-19, the nitrogen dioxide has decreased significantly since factories in China stopped operating to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and restrictions on vehicles and other means of transportation caused by the suspension of human movement.  

 Also, many animals returned when people stopped visiting many tourist attractions in Europe. Witnesses of dolphins appeared in Italian ports, swans in Roman lakes, and wild bears in Italy actively share that on social media. In the case of the Venice Canal, a flock of fish appeared in decades. It may be because the water quality has improved as the canal's traffic decreases, or because human visits was stressful for animals. However, it is clear that humans have harmed animals and nature in any way. 

 As COVID-19 stopped people's moving, positive environmental changes appeared in many places. But there was negative environmental changes too. The amount of plastic waste has increased due to COVID-19. Rice University studied the link between COVID-19 and plastic use. As people kept social distance and self-price, the consumption of packaged and delivered foods increased, and plastic waste increased accordingly. Medical gowns, gloves and syringes used in hospitals are also plastic. This shows how much plastic we usually use without thinking about the environment. Of course, I think it was inevitable because hygiene is important for safety.

But I think this is also included in COVID-19's warning. We had to pack the mask in an hygienic way through research, and we should have packed the food in a recyclable bowl. This shows the importance of our interest in the environment and research on new materials. 

 I think both the improved environment such as the increase in plastic waste, improved air quality or the return of animals due to changes in people's behavior caused by COVID-19, are a warning to us. Also the worsened environment such as increased plastic waste. So I think when COVID-19 calms down, we should be alert to the environment and reflect on the adverse effects that mankind has had on the environment. So finally we must make efforts to improve the environment. 

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A map showing the nitrogen dioxide of China in the atmosphere among air quality data
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