Our Planet Changed by COVID-191)
Daily life is quite different from what it was about a year ago. COVID-19 has brought about changes to our eating, clothing, and living. The COVID-19 influences both people's lives as well as the global environment. Satellite imagery showed that air pollution in China improved significantly at the end of February 2020 when it went into lockdown. According to a NASA announcement, nitrogen dioxide emissions in eastern and central China fell from 10 to 30 percent in February 2020 compared to the previous year. The atmosphere improved with the stop to economic activities such as factory operations and cargo transportation. However, now that the spread of the virus has lessened, China's industrial activities have resumed, and there have been no further improvements to the air quality. Rather, the Earth's pollutant emissions are expected to increase. For Korea, the pandemic has caused people to forgo dining at restaurants and cafés for takeaway and delivery, which has brought about increased use of disposable products. The restrictions on use of disposable products in the restaurant sector, which was once actively enforced, have been temporarily eased because of the pandemic. Restaurants are providing guests with disposable spoons and chopsticks, and cafés are providing guests with disposable cups instead of store cups. The use of disposable products is bringing about a pending garbage crisis.
There is a need to focus on the global garbage crisis. First of all, people need to reduce use of disposable products. The packaging of food and goods needs to, as much as possible, reduce over-packaging to avoid generating unnecessary waste. Also, people need to reduce individual use of disposable products by bringing reusable bowls and cups for their food and drinks. In October 2020, the Ministry of Environment launched a social container campaign through its YouTube channel. It promoted the idea of bringing reusable containers such as personal shopping carts and multiple containers instead of relying on disposable bags and plastic cups. To avoid the pending global garbage crisis, there is a need for both global social and personal effort. Global warming is accelerating due to increased waste emissions and worsening air pollution. Everyone needs to make an effort to prevent environmental problems that cause health problems, a decrease in wildlife, and an increase in natural disasters such as floods and droughts.
1) Park Hyejoon, "'Reduce Air Pollution After COVID-19'… It Seems to Be the Effects of the Plant Shutdown", YONHAP NEWS TV, March 4, 2020