World Ocean benefits from reduced pollution sparked by COVID-19 â€“ Ocean alliance
Moscow/Sputnik/UNI: Andrei Savenkov - The World Ocean is benefiting from the reduction of pollution during the COVID-19 pandemic brought about by temporarily disrupted air traffic and diminished production, among other things, Paul Holthus, president of the World Ocean Council (WOC), told Sputnik.
The WOC is a global business association promoting corporate ocean responsibility.
With flight restrictions and the millions of people under quarantine worldwide, COVID-19's surprising effect on climate has become more apparent in recent months. According to the European Space Agency, nitrogen dioxide emissions (NO2) have fallen drastically in Italy, the hardest-hit European nation. Moreover, water in the canals of Venice has become clear for the first time in a very long while.
"Because of reducing pollution in several ways – most documented and publicized has been the reduction in air emissions – but anything that is reducing CO2 will be beneficial to the ocean, in the whole cycle of carbon dioxide that leads to ocean acidification," Holthus said, when asked whether the health of the World Ocean would improve in light of the reduced pollution.
Yet, with the international community expected to resume transport and industries once the outbreak is gone, it is important to continue finding ways to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to preserve the health of the World Ocean, the WOC president added.
"It's such a small change in such a short period of time that we need to not lose sight of the urgency to deal with the long-term climate change and ocean change issues that have serious consequences for the future," Holthus said.
Experts, who were interviewed by Sputnik last week, predict that the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, caused by the slowdown of industrial activities in China and the global halt on flights, will be short-lived and should not mislead governments into thinking that clean energy transition investment may be put on a back burner until the economy recovers from the shocks of the coronavirus pandemic.