Environmental Impact

The pandemic has resulted in months of many people around the world altering their behaviour and instructed by their governments to stay at home or avoiding unnecessary travel.  This has had an impact on the environment, including some benefits:

  • A reduction in car usage

  • A reduction in air travel - nearly 8 in 10 flights have been cancelled and global air traffic has decreased by 60%.


  • A fall in air pollution​ due to reduction in emissions from cars, factories, planes etc- in China, emissions are down ​25% and the amount of coal used has dramatically decreased.                                                                                       

  • A decrease of carbon dioxide concentration in the air- in Paris CO2 emissons were down 72% in March.




















However, the pandemic has also resulted in some environmental issues:

  • Volumes of unrecyclable waste have risen due to increased use of face masks, PPE which are all single use.

  • Severe cuts in agricultural and fishery export levels have led to the generation of large quantities of organic waste,

  • Maintenance and monitoring of natural ecosystems have been temporarily halted.

  • Food retailers are not accepting plastic bags for recycling at checkout points due to health concerns.

  • Many consumers have increased their consumption of take-away food which is delivered with single-use packaging.

  • Natural ecosystems and protected species are have been at risk during the COVID-19  crisis:

    • in many countries, environmental protection workers at national parks and land and marine conservation zones have had to stay at home in lockdown, which has left these areas unmonitored,

    • their absence has resulted in a rise of illegal deforestation, fishing and wildlife hunting.