Hitting the reset button: How social distancing is impacting the environment
The coronavirus pandemic has impacted lives across the world, as millions of people are forced to stay inside their homes and practice social distancing.
But a possible positive aspect of the situation is the effect social distancing is having on the environment.
“We’re going back and hitting the reset button,” says Rutgers School of Engineering associate professor Monica Mazurek.
Less traffic on the roads and fewer people on the streets has led to better air quality. But Mazurek says that this won’t last forever.
“This benefit that we see for the environment – emissions, air quality – is just short-term,” she says.
Related: Your Coronavirus Photos
Mazurek says that once the pandemic is over and people go back outsides, the same environmental issues and pollutants will return. But she says that this could serve as a wakeup call.
“If we started looking at how we refuel those types of diesel engines, to maybe natural gas engines, hydrogen,” Mazurek says.
Mazurek says that of course now the immediate focus should be on saving lives, but that it is something to think about for the future.