How has COVID impacted pollution? When history examines the 2020 impact of COVID 19, we believe it will show the pandemic as at least a bit of a mixed blessing. What we believe history will show is that as people flew and drove less, air quality drastically improved. In fact, we see predictions that carbon emissions will fall by 4 percent in 2020 as compared to 2019. We will likely see that populated countries like China and India saw significantly less smog and lower pollution rates. The traffic slowed down and the skies were bluer. What we will hopefully learn from these positive observations will be that pollution is very much within our control and it can be contained. We may also see that the “work from home” mobile workforce was also a positive. Commuters saved hours that they then could spend with their loved ones, or improving their health, rather than inside an auto. Those will be viewed as positive, but came at the expense of much death and suffering.
On the flip side, we will see that while we did have a steep decline in oil markets and prices, good for drivers at the gas pump, but not so good as the cheaper oil translated into cheaper plastics. This, we will find, caused an increased volume in things like plastic containers and plastic grocery bags. We will find that the millions of facemasks, plastic gloves, and plastic bags, made their way to rivers and streams – and ultimately into the oceans where they caused increasing damage to marine life. In fact, experts are now predicting that 2020 will likely to see an increase of 30% in waste!
So, what lessons shall we learn from our quarantined time of COVID with respect to pollution and other matters? First, we should learn that just as we are the cause of pollution, we can also be the solution by creating a truly circular economy. We will hopefully recognize that continually developing new and improved waste disposal systems will help us repurpose and reuse plastics, rather than have them contaminate our earth and sea. And, during this ugly political year in the U.S. we should learn to demand that our elected officials recognize the short and long term problems of pollution and climate change, and work together to take steps to insure a cleaner world. The answer lies in moving toward a circular economy v. a linear economy. We can recycle. The Earth is ready to provide for us. But, it all starts with us treating Mother Earth like we care.
Large renewable energy and biochemical consulting firms have environmental experts, and experts in things like plastics and pollution. These groups also have experts in bio and renewable fuels, biomass and biomass power, feedstocks, biomaterials, and biochemicals. These larger groups will also have expertise in other technologies like agitation systems, anaerobic digestion, beverage fermentation, bio-oil extraction, bioreactors, carbon capture, carbon storage, carbonization, catalysis, cellulosic ethanol, cleantech, combined heat and power, direct combustion, enzyme technologies, fermentation, Fischer-Tropsch, gasification, genetic engineering, hydrothermal, nanotechnology, organosynthesis, power generation, pyrolysis, renewable technology due diligence, synthetic biology, thermochemical conversion, torrefaction, water treatment, and waste management. Look at our experts and the services we provide at Lee Enterprises Consulting. Call us at 1+ (501) 833-8511 or email us for more information.