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Upside of Covid-19

DoE studies show that the reduction in sea traffic as well as lockdowns during the pandemic have made beaches clean, reduced noise pollution and offered respite to marine environment
Upside of Covid-19 Upside of Covid-19

As the Covid-19 pandemic spreads death and destruction across the planet, it has had a positive effect on the marine ecosystem in the Caspian Sea, head of the Department of Environment branch in Mazandaran Province said.
“The temporary shutdown of activities due to the virus reduced shipping traffic in the earth's largest inland body of water. Decline in demand for marine resources have given the lake the much-needed breathing space to recover from pollution (noise, oil and plastic) and overfishing,” Hossein Ali Ebrahimi was quoted as saying by IRNA.
The coronavirus has hit livelihoods and economies as no other disease in the recent past. It has overstretched robust health industries giving rise to deep depression and distress. 
“But on the other side it has had a positive effect on the environment,” the DoE official said.
DoE studies show that the reduction in sea traffic as well as lockdowns during the pandemic have made beaches clean, reduced noise pollution and offered respite to  marine environment, helping a range of species to return to coastal areas that are important for many nesting and migratory birds such as flamingoes, geese and gulls.

 

While the recovery in marine life cannot go on for long, increase in the number of mammals such as the Caspian seal and sturgeons have been reported in areas where they were not seen in decades

 


“While the recovery in marine life cannot go on for long, increase in the numbers of mammals such as the Caspian seal and sturgeons (90% of the world catch) have been recorded in areas where they had not been seen in decades.”
The Caspian Sea is an independent zoogeographical region due to the diversity, specificity and endemism of its fauna. Waters of the sea house 400 aquatic animal species. 
The virus lockdowns are likely to favor the recovery of species in the sea which breed and spawn between March and May and the impact will be seen within one or two years, he noted.
Due to restrictions few people visited the tourist cities in the province in March and April. “This reduced plastic waste and wastewater that is usually discharged into the sea.”

 

 

Recipe for Disaster

The sea’s marine environment continues to suffer from serious pollution related to oil extraction and refining, offshore oil fields, and huge volumes of untreated sewage and industrial waste.
Ebrahimi said that deadly virus, among other things, showed that tampering with marine ecosystems under the guise of human development is a recipe for disaster. “It is crucial to draw on the window of opportunity offered by the virus in reducing pollution (and energy demand) to protect the environment.”
According to Mohammad Darvish, an environmentalist and a researcher at the Research Institute for Forests and Rangelands in Tehran, water pollution in the troubled lake has far exceeding international norms.
Commercial shipping in the sea is a growing problem that is contributing terribly to pollution. 
Moreover, the release of over one billion cubic meters of industrial, chemical and household wastewater into the sea has polluted the water and reduced oxygen levels, jeopardizing 400 plus aquatic species including sturgeons. 
Oil exploration and transportation in the sea are other sources of serious concern. According to published surveys, the sea contains close to 33 billion barrels of oil and proven natural gas reserves are estimated at 5 trillion cubic meters. 
The Caspian Sea borders five countries, namely Iran, Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. 
More than 5.7 people around the world are affected by coronavirus out of which more than 352,000 have died and more than 2.4 million people have recuperated. 

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