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As Filipinos try to come to terms with the new norm that is the community quarantine or lockdown brought about by the 2019 coronavirus disease or COVID-19, there are a number of reasons why this move is seen as beneficial to planet Earth.

In Luzon, the once smog-filled air is clear and streets are visibly clean. “Thanks to the lockdown, the air quality in Metro Manila has improved by more than 50 percent,” said DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units Concerns Benny D. Antiporda.

“From the formerly fair to unhealthy air quality, it has become fair to good,” said Antiporda.

In Iloilo City, the almost deserted streets, closed shops and malls have also resulted to clean air. Without the usual rush of vehicles, streets have lesser smoke emissions, and fewer people in the city has resulted to less garbage, too.

“This CoViD 19 has positive effects on our planet. Air quality has improved due to less vehicles plying the streets. We anticipate improved water quality, as well. Since the lockdown was implemented, hotels have fewer clients and restaurants and malls are closed resulting to a reduction in the discharge of wastewater,” said DENR 6 Regional Executive Director Francisco E. Milla, Jr.

“We also learn one very valuable lesson because of this CoViD: good sanitation. Now we are all conscious about our hygiene – frequent hand washing and the use of alcohol. Aside from these practices, I also appeal to one and all to learn how to manage their wastes. For those who are already practicing waste segregation, composting and recycling, please continue your efforts. Nothing beats a clean environment for our own sake,” Milla added.

The whole planet has literally paused from all the pollution brought by anthropogenic or human activities. A drastic decrease in air pollution over China during the two weeks in February when the lockdown was implemented, was observed by National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) and the European Space Agency. The satellite measured fewer concentrations of nitrogen dioxide, a gaseous air pollutant released by cars, power plants and industrial facilities.

This pandemic has surprisingly brought about the thrust of Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu’s on clean air and clean water, with people becoming more aware of the importance of a clean environment. /DENR 6