New Delhi | Jagran Lifestyle Desk: The world will celebrate the World Environment Day, also known as 'Eco Day' on Friday to mark the importance of the environment in our lives. People across the world will take oaths to protect the environment from losing its aboriginal splendour, most of which is contributed by the activities the human species has been engaging in since the start of the modern era. Ironic enough, on this year's June 5, World Environment Day's theme is 'Time for Nature'. 

The COVID-hit 2020 has given enough of it, to all of us - the 'Time'. However, one may argue whether this time has been utilised by us and all '...for nature' or not. After all, most of us have used the word 'selfish' for our species during our childhood school essays on 'World Environment Day'. Haven't we?

However, the COVID crisis enabled the environment to sped past the 'selfish' exploitative routines of humankind and made way for its healing rather quite impulsively. The subsequent results of this exact healing have surprised many throughout the country and the world: 

COVID hits the respiratory tract but the world breathed its finest in decades

The rare positive of these COVID times has of course been the significant decrease in air pollution, leading to the dawn of some of the most clean-air days in the month of April in the capital Delhi, the cities of Ludhiana, Mumbai and Kanpur -- all of which have featured among world's most polluted in recent years except for Mumbai. 

According to a Los Angeles Times report, researchers have stated that the drop in air pollution levels may currently be saving a significant amount of lives, not only by reducing individuals’ susceptibility to COVID-19 but also by preventing some of the world’s seven million annual deaths due to air pollution exposure.

Polluted water bodies came back to life

Two months of the coronavirus lockdown have done what successive governments could not do in multiple decades with over Rs 5,000 crore at their disposal-clean up the Yamuna river. The instances of Punjabi and Sindhi refugees after 1947 and Kashmiri Pandits in the 1990s finding the water of Yamuna (in Delhi) and Mithi (in Mumbai) terribly dirt for doing their rituals, and finding it difficult to consume edible plants such as Lotus stem, growing in the polluted Yamuna waters have been well documented. A finding by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee showed last month that in Delhi, compared to the pre-lockdown days, Yamuna is now cleaner by close to 40 per cent.

“I am amazed at the effect the lockdown has had on all rivers,” Dr Rajeev Chauhan, a conservation officer with the Wildlife Institute of India-Dehradun, was quoted as saying by NDTV.

Happy Migrations: When the birds came back to the shores

Observers were amazed beyond any stretch of the imagination at the sight of thousands of flamingos in Navi Mumbai and hundreds of them at Mahim Creek last month. Over the years, Flamingos would sometimes skip Mumbai and their sighting was becoming rare and rarer, but this time, they flocked into tandem to make a spectacle out of their chirpy presence.

Due to the COVID-19 lockdown, and hence the subsequent reduction in crowds on the streets, a large number of birds and animals were spotted in the public places all throughout the country. The virus indeed halted the momentum of Humankind, but environment started retrieving its aboriginal glory, making way for the most instantly incredible environmental transitions of our lifetimes.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma