The Environmental Impact on the water due to COVID-19

With the COVID-19 pandemic ongoing and lock down extended until at least the 7 May 2020, I wanted to shed some light on the more positive changes I have noticed during this time. In particular how clean and clear the water now is in a time when leisure sailing has temporarily ceased.

We have seen news articles from around the world reporting how quickly the environment is recovering during this ongoing pandemic. With aircraft forced to remain on the ground, public movement at an all time low and many industries temporarily closed, it is no surprise that pollution and green house gases have fallen dramatically. Breathtaking pictures are appearing from around the globe showing city skylines free from smog, the tops of mountain ranges being visible once again and the clarity of waterways such as the Venice Canals to name just a few.

Being based in the marina during this period, it hasn’t gone unnoticed on a more local scale either. Portsmouth Harbour is not renowned for being one of the cleanest areas of water on the planet by a long way, but the difference during this time has been incredible. From the large amounts of flotsam, jetsam, oil and scum we are use to seeing to photos of clear blue water in just a few weeks, with the seabed becoming visible once again. Couple this with the stunning evening sunsets and cloud formations and it really does give a glimmer of hope of something positive coming from this otherwise tragic pandemic.

With my life and job being on and around the water it is not uncommon for me to regularly be hooking out bits of rubbish from the marina; plastic bottles being the main offender by far. Whilst the commercial traffic has reduced within the harbour with less continental and local ferries running, by far the biggest decrease in traffic is from the leisure world. This then leads to the question of where the majority of the rubbish that ends up in our marinas originates from? Something which I certainly can’t answer, but it has definitely made me more aware of the environment and the impact we have on it going forward. There are definitely small changes I can make on board to help maintain cleaner seas as well as putting more focus on this subject whilst teaching.

Researching for this post I have come across some other reasons why the seas may be appearing clearer at the moment, from less disturbance due to less traffic, to more scientific reasons around the sun and the absorption of its light. However to me it appears obvious that less traffic on the water directly relates to less pollution and waste ending up in the sea.

Organisations such as The Green Blue have been campaigning since 2005 to ‘Inspire sustainable recreational boating for cleaner healthier waters’, backed by the RYA and British Marine. If nothing else it is clear this otherwise devastating outbreak has given nature (and many peoples working environment) time to recover. It would be a great shame to see this wasted when we start to return to ‘normal’ once again…

How Degrading Poster – Source: The Green Blue Website

One thought on “The Environmental Impact on the water due to COVID-19

  1. Great article. I do hope everyone does everything with a little bit more consideration when life on the water can resume, it would be such a shame if the positives of this situation are undone and everything returns to how it was.. it wasn’t all good.

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