Published : Tuesday, 31 March, 2020 at 12:00 AM
The whole world including our beloved Bangladesh is now in a great war with a natural curse named ‘COVID-19’ or commonly known as coronavirus. While healthcare providers and government officials around the world work to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic and mitigate the effects of a resulting economic crisis, scientists urged authorities to also seriously consider a long-term strategy for preventing another infectious disease outbreak as they pointed out the coronavirus as a warning from the nature.
Already more than 36,000 people around the world has lost their lives and over 7.5 lac people have been infected with this deadly virus. As we are in search of its root, it is truly a natural disaster and we need to dig deep to identify the broader perspective of such pandemics. If we think rationally, our carelessness about the nature and our materialistic lifestyle will come out as the cause of such natural disasters. Hence, we need to form strong strategies to not only escape from such pandemics but also to save the world.
According to Inger Anderson, Environmental Chief of United Nation (UN), nature is sending us a message with the coronavirus pandemic and the ongoing climate crisis.Andersen said that humanity was placing too many pressures on the natural world with damaging consequences and warned that failing to take care of the planet meant not taking care of ourselves.
We, the humans, have been very reluctant about the nature as we never hesitate to make it suffer for our activities. In every aspect of our life, we are continuously disrespecting the mother nature and we never take into the natural consequences of our materialistic behaviors. The developed countries of the world, whose development is based on rapid industrialization in the cost of nature, have mostly contributed in the natural depletion. The other countries of the world are also waiting for the same opportunities.
Though many environmental activists are trying to get the focus of the global leaders to the natural preservation for a long time, they could not succeed till now. On several occasion, we have seen top global leaders to completely ignore the environmental issues. Hence, we are observing continuous issues of global warming and other environmental contaminations. We are in a huge risk as the glaciers in the Antarctic zones are slowly melting due to rise in global temperature, which is caused by rapid industrialization and depletion of natural issues. We need to look at these issues very seriously without any delay as mother-nature will hit us back with deadlier pandemics in the near future.
It seems like mother nature has spoken for herself this time as she is answering all our ill works from her end. We were used to a lifestyle which is far apart from the nature. We are today busier with our life outside. We are constantly pushing our life into usage of technology. We are tangled with the influence of social media and virtual lifestyle. We have become materialistic and are losing moral and social values. This materialistic lifestyle is taking us away from the nature and we care very less about it just like our leaders.
Very few around the world has the time today to think about preservation of nature. In our country also, the scenario is very bad. We are cutting forests for building industries, grabbing canals and rivers to build markets, filling ponds and canals to build residence and many things else. During all this misdoing, we are hurting the nature and destroying the habitats of many animals. Nature will not remain silent very long against those injustices.
We have seen many natural calamities and disasters in the form of tsunami, earthquake, typhoon, landslide etc. caused by human destruction of the environment. But those might not have been enough. The human race was also challenged with different viruses like; SARS, MARS, Ebola etc. during the last few years but we were not alarmed enough. Now, with this coronavirus attack, the world is facing a scenario, which was not even dreamt by anyone. It is notable that, previous calamities impacted all species of the world but now these virus-borne calamities are targeting only human race.
The top industrialized countries had to close all their offices and any sort of institutions to keep people inside. The busy lifestyle of today has found its shelter inside home and our time is dedicated to our family members only. Even in our country, there is no rush of vehicles or pile of people on the roads. The megacity Dhaka seems to have lost its momentum completely. There is no noise, disturbing traffic jam, smell of wastes or fuel on the road. Even with the tough pandemic, there is peace everywhere.
If we consider the example of Dhaka city only, it is like the nature is healing herself during the time of this coronavirus crisis. This city is predicted to die soon by the experts due to extreme environmental pollution and this lockdown might have been the only solution to preserve the environment of Dhaka city.
Coronavirus scenario is having different positive impacts from natural perspective like; improvement in air quality. A drop in air pollution was first observed by NASA in China’s Hubei province, where the coronavirus outbreak began in December. The Chinese government on January 23 put Wuhan and other cities on lockdown to contain the virus, leading to a standstill for normal life. A research at Stanford University, calculated the improvements in air quality recorded in China may have saved the lives of 4,000 children under 5 years old and 73,000 adults over 70. Even more conservative estimates would put the number of lives saved at roughly 20 times the number of deaths from the virus directly.
As a result of reduced travel and increasing business closure, pollution levels are dropping all over the world, and the environment is thriving.As humans everywhere are forced to self-isolate due to the coronavirus pandemic, lowering pollution levels have led to the unexpected prevailing of nature.
In Venice of Italy, the water has turned clear for the first time in decades and people can see the fish swimming and the swans have returned. We need not go far like Venice. At Cox’sBazar, the longest sea beach of the world, the water was always polluted,as we can remember, by millions of visitors throughout the year. But as the Bangladeshi government has declared lockdown and people are not being allowed on the beach for the last 10 days, the sea water again turned blue in the coastal areas and amazingly bunch of dolphins are playing very close to the beach, a scene which was very common 30 years ago but was destroyed by the humans. The nature is coming out at its best during this global lockdown as this coronavirus scenario is truly taking us back to the nature.
It’s incredible to see how in such a short time, nature can adapt to the changing of human habits. Hopefully, this is something the world can remember once the pandemic is over, and apply to the ways we think about environmental policy moving forward.
From another perspective, coronavirus has turned people towards religion. With the evolution of social media, we find tremendous religious preaching now-a-days. Many says, people are getting more into religion. But unfortunately, we do not follow the religious practices mostly at core. Almost all religions advise on personal cleanliness and kindness to animals. But that is not the case today.
Islam does allow the Muslims to eat some of the animals but strictly orders to maintain hygiene by guiding on ways to slaughter those animals. Islam also advises not to serve painful death to those animals. But Islam also restricts on eating most of the animals with valid reasons. The Hindu religion also does not allow eating most of the animals just like the Christianity. The Buddhism offers kindness to all animals and does not advise to eat animals. But we are ignoring these guidelines majorly. This coronavirus was spread from unhygienic and religiously unapproved consumption of animals. We should follow the religious guidelines as those can also help us to avoid different virus-based pandemics in the future.
After coronavirus, there is possibility of several types of virus related diseased as it was mentioned in different religions like Islam also. If we do not get aware and alert right now, we will not be able to sustain let alone the global economy. This coronavirus has made our life standstill and the future pandemics will destroy our life completely.
Today humans are in a race. There are different types of competition – men over men, society over society, community over community, religion over religion and nation over nation. In this race humans are torturing members of the other groups for their own interest and to prove their supremacy.
Humans are not only hurting other humans but also other species. There are 18,000 types of species and due to activities of humans other 17,999 types of species are suffering. Today’s urbanization, industrialization, pollution etc. are causing phenomenon like; increased CO2 emission, global warming, climate change and green house effect etc. Now, we need to think if we need to stop this culture of abusing the rights of other men and animals to become safe from nature’s revenge.
We have observed significant improvement in the environment due to this global lockdown as the factories are closed and all types of mechanical vehicles are in limited usage. After this global coronavirus crisis is over, we should not forget this positive impact.
Different nations on different occasions keep their offices and educational institutes closed for few weeks in a year. To preserve the environment, all countries of the world should impose a lockdown for a month together at a set time to protect environment. During that period all offices, factories, educational institutes, markets will be closed and people will move with only non-motorized vehicles for fulfilling unavoidable necessities and will spend their time with family. It will help retaining family bond as well as will help protecting the nature.
We must not ignore the rage of the nature and should must focus on preserving our environment. We must follow the guidelines of our religion and must come out of the self-centric practices. Family, friends, society and nature should be our new priority rather than technological advancement, rapid industrialization and unplanned urbanization.
Our global leaders should form policies and strategies to safeguard the nature and the religious leaders should join hands to install true humanity. We should now go back to our basics and only then we can hope for a safe world.
The writer is Chief Editor at Mohammadi News Agency (MNA), Editor at Kishore Bangla and Vice-Chairman, Democracy Research Center (DRC)