'#StayHome made world greener; now we have to keep it that way'
Abu Dhabi - Earlier this month, the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi said the Capital has reported a 62 per cent drop in air pollution in just two months.
Published: Tue 26 May 2020, 10:00 PM
Last updated: Thu 28 May 2020, 8:15 AM
Covid-19 restrictions have led to several environment gains and #StayHome also allowed people to see mobility in a new light. Now, experts are looking into the challenge of sustaining these positive changes.
Earlier this month, the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi said the Capital has reported a 62 per cent drop in air pollution in just two months.
The EAD attributed continued improvement of air quality in Abu Dhabi to government efforts to control public and traffic movement as part of Covid-19 precautionary measures.
There was also a significant decrease' in nitrogen dioxide emissions in the GCC countries between November 26 last year and March 27, according to the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre.
As millions #StayHome, fuel is saved, pollution reduced and perhaps also made a profound impact on mindset of people with respect to travel needs, said Monica Menendez, associate professor of civil and urban engineering at New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) and director of the NYUAD Research Centre for Interacting Urban Networks.
"The movement restrictions have made us see mobility in a whole new light. First, many of us have come to appreciate the freedom that it provides us, and we certainly miss it," Menendez said.
"Second, we can see the value of a robust transportation system that provides access to different resources for all sectors of the population, especially in times of need. Third, perhaps we have come to see that many of our trips are not really necessary, and it is possible to live without them."
Menendez hopes positive changes seen now will be sustained and have a long-lasting impact.
"Hopefully, these lessons will not fade as we emerge from this pandemic, and in turn, they will help us design and deploy more resilient mobility systems that ultimately curb our negative impact on the environment," she said.
Menendez urged everyone to reflect on their individual actions and how they affect the environment one way of another.
"Can we carry forward into the future some of the practices about virtual interactions that we have adopted in the last few weeks? What can each of us do to reduce our environmental footprint? We have certainly been able to do it out of necessity, but can we do it out of our own will once the pandemic is over?"