Georgia Birkwieser, Age 14

Deep Creek Middle School Eleuthera, Bahamas

Pollution Title – Is Quarantine a Blessing?

Imagine this, you are an animal, any animal. Usually, you are interrupted from the serenity of your home by loud cars with billowing exhaust and tall, two-legged creatures who dispose of unnatural materials in your backyard. Strangely, in the past month, it’s been very quiet. Your surroundings smell less like gasoline and more like… well, your surroundings. The trash on the sidewalks hasn’t been piling up and you feel safer. Everything is beginning to feel right.

Quarantining during coronavirus has reduced fossil fuel emissions worldwide. This leads to an interesting question: What would happen without humans around to produce unnatural messes? According to the World Health Organization, air pollution kills 4.2 million people annually and more than 1 million of those deaths occur each year in China. In areas like China and northern Italy, where the virus has been especially prominent, the quarantine has resulted in better air quality, improving thousands of lives.

In The Bahamas, my country, we don’t experience problems with air quality, but we do experience problems with plastic pollution. With fewer people roaming the streets and beaches, the chances of plastic trash being disposed of carelessly are lower. This quarantine can be an opportunity to better our environment. The air is becoming cleaner and the planet less polluted, all because humans aren’t out and about. It seems as if humans are the main problem with the world. Maybe it will only get better when we aren’t around, but I think the world can be a better place if we all work toward a common goal. Perhaps quarantine has given us a chance to see this clearly.