Nature is reclaiming its Space

Nature is reclaiming its Space

Ms Shayeri Roy
Research Fellow, IISD
Environmental Sustainability Expert, IISD

The corona virus pandemic has led to global lockdowns, on a scale we haven't seen before. How successful we are in containing the disease only time will tell. There are however some positive outcomes. Pollution has reportedly gone down drastically and most cities are reporting clear blue skies and clean air. Another positive has been for the wildlife. Animals that usually avoided urban areas, are now roaming in the streets without fear.

Bollywood Actress Dia Mirza, Who is also United Nation Environment Programme (UNEP)'s Global Ambassador, has recently shared in her Twitter handle, an unbelievable video of how Ganga's water has cleared up due to lockdown. The video shows the river bed completely visible under the water in Rishikesh.  "A lockdown on human activity is restoring natural resources. Clean water is necessary for health and progress #CleanGanga" Dia wrote as she retweeted the video of the Ministry of Jal Shakti, Government of India. 

We at IISD, are in awe of the video - "Nature knows how to balance things with human, if human forgets Nature's presence". In that case, "Should we go for one or two month lockdown every year to support nature ?"  

Real time data from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) shows that the water quality of the river has improved considerably during the lockdown, notably in industrial towns through which it passes. Since 1986, when the Ganga Action Plan was conceived, the Central Government has pumped in about Rs 5000+ crore to clean the river considered holy by hundreds of millions of Indians, but unfortunately hardly with little or no impact, so far.

Experts say that the recent Ganga Water Quality has considerably improved by lowering Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) and Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) load and increasing the Dissolved Oxygen (DO) level in the flowing water, restoring aquatic lifeforms, so that after a long time, the river water has not only finally, become suitable for bathing; but also, even became suitable for direct drinking at certain upper stream points, of the flowing river now.

Not just rivers, even wildlife is flourishing due to the lockdown on humans. Recently, Actress Juhi Chawla had shared a few pictures of peacocks roaming around in a residential colony in suburban Mumbai. The picture, clicked at Khareghat Colony in Babulnath, showed a large numbers of beautiful birds of various colours and varieties also, roaming in the streets and sitting on people's porches.

We, humans need to accept Other's Rights over Planetary Resources. While people are locked up inside their homes, some animals that generally stay away from human habitation are beginning to roam in our streets. A Nilgai was seen sauntering in front of a mall and also a Civet was spotted, crossing the road in the middle of a city. Hence there's a clear message - We, humans need to learn and recognise that it's high time that we accept Other specie's rights over this Planet's Natural Resources, Nature's Infrastructure and after all, everything those Nature also has made available to us.

Wild animals and Birds have started exploring cities now, though out the world, during the corona virus lockdowns. When humanity’s away, the animals have taken over their rights over the Spaces of Nature. With much of the world driven indoors to quarantine during this  pandemic lockdown, some species, those are not often seen or least or rarely seen, are now spotted in large numbers, are found exploring cities. A small Indian Malabar civet roams the streets of Kozhikode in Kerala, India. Many have claimed that it's an endangered species which hasn’t been seen since the 1990s. Monkeys were caught congregating in front of a shop near a famous temple in, Mandir Marg, New Delhi; People in Nara, Japan reported seeing Deer that usually stay in the park, roaming in the street footpaths (Front Photograph), during this strange time of reduced human activity, the Guardian reports.

Deer have also been spotted in a field close to the Luton, Britain airport. In Venice, Italy, canals have turned crystal clear after boat traffic was halted due to COVID-19, and Jellyfish is spotted in these canals, which is a rare incident, with Swans and Fish enjoying the period of calm before people return and Dolphins have returned to Venice waterways, during the corona virus lockdown, National Geographic reports.  

The Author is a Research Fellow (Environmental Sustainability), at Indian Institute of Sustainable Development (IISD), New Delhi.

River Ganga flows with Crystal Clear Water during the Lockdown

UNEP Global Ambassador and Actress Dia Mirza has shared this video in her twitter handle, from the website of Ministry of Jal Shakti, GoI.

Nature is reclaiming its Space (India)-1

Deer are running from the Forests to Villages through state highway

At Balipadara-Kodala Road, Ganjam District, Odisha, India

Nature is reclaiming its Space (International)-2

Shooting Of International Cities and Sites

Source: GRAVITAS /