Why do we have missions to Mars but not to Mercury? Mostly because there’s some anticipation that Mars can support life, whereas, Mercury can’t. This is because the daytime temperature on Mercury reaches to 430 degree Celsius, probably hot enough to melt lead and during night it cools down to -183 degree Celsius, cold enough to liquefy oxygen.
Now the questions arise; why are we even planning to live on some other planet? Is earth not enough? Are we so greedy that the millions of resources which are helping us survive will happen to totally exhaust one day? Or we are really finding a planet to ensure the survival of our next generation?
There are many questions but with scanty answers.
Human beings often forget that we are completely dependent on Mother Nature and become ignorant towards caring for it. But the Covid-19 lockdown is healing the planet in a way never seen before in living history! Well, it’s too early to tell if these transitions will last forever. Experts say, the environment would suffer once the quarantine measures are lifted and industries would work double the time to make for what they have lost.
There is no doubt, the COVID restrictions have impacted the environment positively.
According to a survey, China’s nitrogen level has dropped by 30% after the lockdown started in January as the industries and cars (the primary producers of N02) were brought to a stop. A research found that the coal consumption fell by 40%. Also, China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment reported a decrease in chemicals, phosphorus and ammonia in the country’s surface water during this period.
The fear of food shortage is another aspect that is slowly bringing the world to its knees. This pandemic has taught one important lesson, ‘Grow your own food’. Look around you and find spaces that could be filled with food. But the real interest in urban farming will only show once the lockdown is over. There have been reports of panic buying during the lockdown. Food shortages are predicted to cause violent and unrest – a senior economist at FAO said.
Plants are growing better because there is cleaner air and water and because of less human interference.
What’s happening in India?
The number of flamingoes has increased in Mumbai as a result of lockdown. The birds normally migrate to the Navi Mumbai area every year but there is a massive increase in their numbers this year.
Air quality- India has also observed a drastic change, a positive one, in the air quality. The sky seems cleaner now. Even the birdsong seems much louder. Delhi, the most polluted city is now breathing in fresh air after a long time.
Water quality– since there are no boats, whether they be fishing or pleasure ones, plying on the rivers and waterways, the water has cleared up. No doubt, because of the lesser human footfall even the oceans are recovering. The critically endangered, Ganges River dolphins are back after 30 years just because of less water pollution near Kolkata Ghats.
Ganga river is now fit for drinking,. Water from Har-ki-Pauri in Haridwar was tested and the results reveal that the water here is ‘fit for drinking after chlorination’, for the first time in decades. Water quality improved tremendously in the upstream but downstream Varanasi has seen very little change,” said a CPCB scholar working on the Clean Ganga project.
Effect on wildlife- lockdown has seen a decline in fishing, which means that the fish biomass will increase after over fishing almost, depleted it.
With less fear of busy streets and humans trapped indoors, animals are returning to roam around their urbanized habitats. In many cities with busy freeways, less vehicles on the road also means less road killing of these animals.
So, overall there is a positive impact on environment with COVID restrictions. It teaches us a lesson that If we all work together and responsibly, we can make these improvements permanent and there will be no need to plan expensive missions to other planet when we have lots to do here.
The conclusion is, we can save Earth for our future generations by using the resources wisely. Earth has abundant of resources which can make our lives easy and happy.