CLEVELAND, Ohio — What impact is COVID-19 having on our environment?
- The temporary restraint of air and car travel could lead to cleaner air
- The quarantine time could lead to more use of single-use plastics, which could find a their way into our bodies of water
- A benefit of limiting travel is we will spend some time rethinking how we use energy
"You hear about people seeing animals in different places that they don’t expect to see them and well, yes, because when people aren’t around, animals show up," said Jon Bossenbroek, Ph.D.
Bossenbroek teaches ecology at the University of Toledo.
"Air pollution makes people sick and kills people. We know that, it kills many people across the country and across the world," said Dr. Kurt Rhoads, an assistant engineering professor at Case Western Reserve University. He says fewer planes in the air and cars on the road is the main reason why.
The environmental news website Earther has an interactive map that shows how air pollution has changed the last couple of months. It shows the air quality from back in December until March. While the map doesn't have a major change for Ohio, there is a noticeable change over Detroit.
"In the bigger cities, there are probably some health benefits for those with respiratory issues. On the global scale, places with lower air quality like China, there definitely is some benefits," said Bossenbroek.
While a positive, Bosenbroek is concerned the quarantine time could lead to more use of single-use plastics, which could find a their way into our bodies of water.
Professor John Senko, an associate professor of geo sciences and biology at the University of Akron, thinks most of emissions reductions will be temporary.
All three experts share the view that another benefit of limiting our travel is that we will all spend some time rethinking how we use energy.
"If something works, maybe you apply it down the road and kind of use material and use energy a little more efficiently," said Senko.