As the ‘corona queen’ flapped her wings, and soared across the horizon from Wuhan, the world seemed to be completely oblivious of its evil intent! Surprisingly. Even WHO failed to anticipate the fact that such a perilous mishap did portend interminable deaths, insurmountable gloom and irreparable economic down slide across the world. Corona virus, also widely known as Covid 19 raged, and rampaged throughout the earth within a span of a few months, subsequently swallowing the panic- striken multitudes!
The malevolent virus, undoubtedly pushed people into recluse, since it started claiming human lives in alarming proportions. The governments all over the world resorted to draconian lockdowns so as to save human lives. Stringent curfews forced people to stay indoors in a bid to arrest the spread of infection.
Nature woke up
The public places wore a kind of deserted look everywhere. With no foot falls anywhere, however, nature seemed to rejuvenate itself! The cerulean sky seemed to have woken up with a beaming smile, since the snarling traffic had completely gone off the roads, and the factories had stopped smoking. With passing days and weeks, the rivers, lakes and ponds became crystal clear. The factories and industries had shut down, and hence, toxic effluents were not released into the water bodies. Fish and other aquatic creatures could breathe fresh air again. The suffocating algae bloom had almost disappeared!
Elephants and deer were spotted sauntering across the roads in the hill cities like Nainital and Dehradun, while people were trapped indoors. Sea turtles started revisiting the lengthy and forlorn beaches of California, and dolphins became daring enough to frolic along the unmanned European beaches. Spotted deer were seen flanking the road dividers in Ooty, which had once been a tourist hotspot. One sunny morning a leopard was seen crouching beside a road divider along the deserted Ring Road in Hyderabad, which connects the mega city with the airport. This was something unprecedented, since there are no forest areas in the vicinity! Nobody could figure out where the big cat had come from!
Well, all such instances seemed to have augured a kind of wishful facelift of the earth which had long been ravaged by reckless human activities. People started saying that nature has started reclaiming its space. To them, the pandemic looked like a blessing in disguise!
Did Covid 19 really pave the way for nature’s comeback:
Increased Poaching: The lockdown period has witnessed indiscriminate killing of wild animals and birds across Africa, and Asia. Poachers have taken undue advantage of reduced patrolling inside the wild life reserves. Everywhere the forest departments had to operate with limited staff, and hence, poaching thrived!
Human and Wild Life Conflict: There have been instances of wild animals straying into the villages and cities as well. Leopards have entered the cities like Nainital, Nagpur Mumbai and Chandigarh in search of domestic animals. A CCTV footage in Nainital showed a leopard carrying away a dog from the premises of a single storey house. Also, there have been cases of leopards attacking lone pedestrians in the bright day light! Such mishaps would surely incite man and nature conflict. People would surely resort to trapping or killing of those trespassers who seem to be threats to their lives.
Unemployment: Retrenchment andjo losses in the cities forced the Indian migrant laborers from the big cities to retreat to their villages. With no money in hand and uncertainty looming large these people have been indulging in illicit exploitation of the natural resources. There is nobody to check these unemployed poor who resort to illegal felling of the forest trees and killing of endangered animals for food.
Increased Pollution: Almost all the countries have kick-started their economies. There have been increased industrial activities, since the producers intend to make up for their losses. This has resulted in excessive air and water pollution. The sky looks grey with smoke, and the water bodies have become clogged with industrial effluents.
Medical Wastes: With the rise in corona cases everywhere there has been a massive demand and supply of the testing and PPE kits. The disposable kits have been piling up everywhere. There is paucity of disposal arrangement for these non- biodegradable wastes. Piling of these used kits has been posing as a daunting challenge everywhere. Moreover, the incineration process of these items releases toxic gases into the air.