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Asian American Medical Society

Keywords: COVID-19; Lockdown; ecosystem; air quality; animals


Since the Coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China in 2020, countries around the world have actively adopted physical isolation to limit the spread of the epidemic after the effectiveness of home isolation has been verified. As of 9 January 2022, Coronavirus infections have been confirmed in over 300 million persons and 5.48 million deaths from Coronavirus, according to WHO. The Coronavirus is highly contagious and can spread before a person through droplets of saliva from sneezing or coughing, while virulent aerosols can survive for up to two hours or days. In addition, the Coronavirus has a long incubation period, making it difficult to quickly identify whether an infected person is infected. Even in developed countries, where the spread of the virus cannot be quickly contained through medical treatment, home isolation is the only option. Most of the 216 countries responding to the epidemic have partially or completely closed off high-risk areas. Despite the decline in economic growth, this has had a positive impact on the development and protection of the ecological environment in each country. In the 21st century, when science and technology are developing rapidly but the environmental quality is also declining rapidly, the arrival of this epidemic provides us with a good opportunity to study the impact of industrialization and human activities on the environment, which is also of reference value for the sustainable development of the environment in the future. Through comparing different research papers, this review article will discuss from different aspects the impact of urban lockdown measures on atmospheric environment and animal habits during the epidemic. This passage will use data from scientific research and some other review papers. The frequency and range of human movement were undoubtedly limited during the period of home quarantine, with air frequency dropping by 96 per cent, being the lowest figure since 2010. The reduction in industrial pollution, noise pollution and human activity caused by COVID-19 have resulted in a reduction in atmospheric conditions and changes in wildlife behavior. The main research objective of this review paper is the positive impact of reduced human activity on ecology and biodiversity during the pandemic.

COVID-19 and atmospheric pollution

At the beginning of the outbreak of COVID, governments have issued forbidden to go out and stop the social production and social activities, people need to wall in the home to reduce the contact with others, the factory also stop production, the streets are almost no traffic tools, but it is more prominent because of flight blockade of aviation transportation, greatly reduced the flight frequency. The frequency of industrial emissions has fallen to its least amount in this decade. According to Carbon Brief Organization, National Bureau of Statistics data, and China Customs data, between the end of February and the end of March 2020, China's emission of carbon dioxide had dropped about 25% in four weeks, equivalent to about 200 million tons of carbon dioxide (MtCO2). China's coal-fired power generation fell by nearly 50 per cent, and despite the resumption of some Chinese factories in April 2020, emissions from burning carbon dioxide and coal are still significantly lower than before. (Carbon Brief, 2020) NASA and ESA’s statistics show that during epidemics the emission of nitrogen dioxide, the main factor that causes air pollution, has reduced up to 30% around the world. Beyond, Google released data indicating the mobility has reduced nearly 90% from 2020 February 23rd to April 5th, especially in Spain, Italy, and France. Significant reductions in air pollutant emissions have increased visibility, allowing many cities to see smog-free blue skies and wild birds during the pandemic. Air quality at tourist sites has increased significantly due to reduced traffic and noise pollution. Due to the epidemic and its product of global quarantine, the atmospheric ecosystem, climate change, and even the ozonosphere are given the chance to recover and ameliorate.

COVID-19 and animals

During the 2020-2021 pandemic, home quarantine allowed citizens to see how animals live in cities without human activity. Bosporus in Istanbul, Turkey, was soon overrun by wild dolphins, according to BBC News. The Headline in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports that in the absence of humans, wild boars haunt Haifa, a city in Israel, and search for food in the town. And in Albania, the number of flamingos in nature reserves has increased by 1.5 times without tourists. However, the opposite situation is also happening in other places in the world. In many tourist attractions, such as Mount Emei in China, there is no one left to feed the "wild monkeys" because of the huge drop in tourists during the pandemic, and the management of the scenic area needs to regularly feed the monkeys on Mount Emei to keep them from starving. Such scenes have also played out in Thailand during the epidemic. Macaque monkeys, which were once a major attraction for foreign tourists, went on the streets to forage for food without foreign tourists feeding them, and even attacked Thai citizens for food. The city of Lopburi is dominated by monkey droppings, the smell of which is unbearable to residents, according to global news. Clearly, there is a delicate ecological imbalance between humans and wildlife in human cities and tourist attractions, but this ecological balance does not obey the laws of nature. This news shows us that human occupation of animal habitats, such as dolphins in Turkey, and the human tourism industry have broken the normal ecological balance, such as the monkeys in Thailand, resulting in wild animals' great dependence on human beings. We need to consider the ecological balance between humans and animals in our future urban planning and tourism development, and this concept can be reflected in the news during the pandemic.


There is no doubt that quarantine was the most effective means of preventing the spread of the virus during the pandemic, making some unexpectedly beneficial contributions to the environment while infecting hundreds of millions of people and severely slowing economic development. From the changes in air quality in the early days of the pandemic, we found that it only took a few weeks of reduced human industrial activity to achieve significant improvements in environmental quality. While carbon emissions during the pandemic still fall short of the Targets set in the Paris Agreement, limiting the worldwide mean temperature rise to less than 2 ° C beyond pre-industrial concentrations and 1.5 ° C beyond pre-industrial heights, the changes are still dramatic. It further illustrates the great impact of human industrial production on environmental changes such as air pollution and the weakening of the ozone layer. In the absence of human activity during the pandemic, the relationship between humans and wildlife in cities, tourist sites and nature reserves was well exposed. The urban living space occupied by wild animals reveals the survival status of wild animals under the background of the swift growth of modern science along with machinery. In the absence of human beings, many wild animals are foraging on the city streets, which reflects the fear of wild animals of human activities and noise pollution. During non-epidemic periods, they avoid human contact by moving at night. The behavior of animals during the pandemic should make us reconsider the unconscious destruction of wildlife animals by human activities. In addition, human beings should reflect on the destruction of ecological balance by using wild animals as economic sources of tourism, which leads to the high dependence of wild animals on human beings -- for example, monkeys in Thailand do extreme behaviors because they don't have enough food. In general, we should act against the destruction of the natural environment by human activities and limit the environmental pollution caused by industrialization from the perspective of sustainable development and maintaining ecological balance.


[1] Bar, Harekrishna. "COVID-19 Lockdown: Animal Life, Ecosystem And Atmospheric Environment". Environment, Development And Sustainability, vol 23, no. 6, 2020, pp. 8161-8178. Springer Science And Business Media LLC, doi:10.1007/s10668-020-01002-7. Accessed 9 Jan 2022.

[2] Muhammad, Sulaman et al. "COVID-19 Pandemic And Environmental Pollution: A Blessing In Disguise?". Science Of The Total Environment, vol 728, 2020, p. 138820. Elsevier BV, doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.138820. Accessed 9 Jan 2022.

[3] Verma, AK, and Sadguru Prakash. "Impact Of COVID-19 On Environment And Society". Papers.Ssrn.Com, 2020.

[4] "Analysis: Coronavirus Temporarily Reduced China’S CO2 Emissions By A Quarter". Carbon Brief, 2020

[5] "Coronavirus: Wild Animals Enjoy Freedom Of A Quieter World". BBC News, 2022, Accessed 10 Jan 2022.

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