The Surprising Impact of COVID-19 Shutdowns on the Environment

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When the coronavirus first started to spread across the globe, the environmental impacts all seemed positive and incredible. We turned on our TVs to see newscasters talking about strange sightings of animals roaming freely in national parks and marine life thriving — in between virus reports, of course. With the sudden drop in air, water and sound pollution, the world suddenly felt cleaner and safer, and wildlife around the world was more than happy to take advantage of the sudden emptiness of their habitats.

But does all that cleaner air and water mean all the side effects of COVID-19 have been positive for the environment? Several long months into the pandemic, the answer isn’t a simple yes or no. Let’s take a look at both sides of the argument. From better air quality and lower emissions to more cars on the road and massive deforestation, many factors show us both the light and dark side of COVID-19’s impact on the environment.