ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AND COVID-19
Updated: Jan 11
This Article is written by Kavya. H Student of SDM Law College, Manglore
The COVID-19 pandemic has been frequently raising concerns on various aspects. One of
them is axiomatically environmental protection. Safeguarding and protecting the
environment have been the prime concern since time immemorial. Various measures have
been taken up by both national and international frameworks to protect the environment. This article focuses on the concept of environmental protection and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in the environment. Further, the positive and negative impacts of the pandemic in the environment have been analyzed. The article concludes by providing a bird’s eye view of the measures that could be adopted in order to ensure a healthy and safe environment.
2. PROTECTING THE ENVIRONMENT
Environmental protection is the method through which the resources of nature is protected
and sustainably used. The right to a healthy environment has been considered to be one of the basic and fundamental rights by various international conventions  and treaties. In this regard, it is pertinent to note that the Constitution of India also recognizes the right to a safe environment as a facet of Article 21.  Further, it has been provided that it is the duty of every citizen to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers, and wildlife, and to have compassion for living creatures. 
3. COIVD-19 AND ENVIRONMENT
The Coronavirus pandemic has created great challenges and concerns regarding various
aspects. One of the effects of this pandemic is upon the environment. Various research
indicates that the pandemic has proved to be a blessing to nature. The positive and
negative impacts of the pandemic on the environment is analyzed here:
3.1 POSITIVE IMPACTS
The Coronavirus pandemic has shown some notable positive aspects of the environment.
With the inactivity of human beings, various changes have been seen in the environment. For decades, the environmental activists had constantly raised concerns about the air and water quality as a threat to the future. However, various studies show that there is an improvement in the air and water quality.  Further, there are results of the natural building back itself and the examples of which are the wild boars seen in Spain, Thailand, etc. Further, there are also reports of seeing glimpses of the Himalayas from Saharanpur.  Due to the temporary lockdown and closure of the factories and companies, a notable amount of air and water quality has been recorded. Experts suggest that the pollution level also has been reduced as there are less carbon emission and nitrogen dioxide. 
3.2 NEGATIVE IMPACTS
Even though various positive impacts have been shown, there are certain negative impacts
too. It is pertinent to note that the positive impacts shown are merely temporary in nature as it is because of the inactivity of human beings. One of the major concerns is regarding the spreading of the virus as there are greater chances of the animals being affected as it is
zoonotic in nature. The illicit fishing in the marine world also poses a greater threat during
the pandemic due to a lack of proper monitoring.  Further, a lot of violations to the
principles environment laws have been reported which includes poaching. Due to the lack of proper waste management systems, a lot of pollution and hindrance to environmental
protection are being caused. Further, a lot of initiatives and plans are being organized and
decided in various international conventions. These are also being hindered due to the COVID- 19 pandemic.
The Covid-19 pandemic has caused both positive and negative impacts on the environment.
The positive impacts suggest that we human beings can bring positive changes and build back the environment and the negative impacts show that appropriate measures need to be adopted for attaining an effective and sustainable environment. Some of the measures that could be adopted are regulating strict laws and policies against the wrongdoers. These can be formulated by both national and international frameworks. Adopting adequate management techniques for disposing of chemical and medical waste could be an effective way. Openly burning the plastic needs to be stopped. Illegal poaching and wildlife trafficking must be strictly punished and effective measures must be taken to prevent these illegal activities.
Further, a carbon-neutral environment is an ideal measure for obtaining a healthy and safe environment. The life habits of the persons also improve the quality of the environment. In this regard, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has started an initiative for implementing ‘Earth School’ which aims to provide students a 30-day Adventure through the virtual-natural world. Hence, implementing these kinds of initiatives helps to sustainably maintain a close relationship between human beings and nature.
To conclude, there is always a conflict between the unlimited needs of human beings and the limited resources of nature. Hence, the primary objective of obtaining a secure
environment and natural resources is to strike a balance between those conflicting interests. The activities of human beings constantly affect the environment to a greater degree. However, it is also pertinent to note that the positive impacts seen in the environment are due to the inactivity of human beings. Therefore, considering the future and the risks involved in the environment, protecting and sustainably using the resources is the need of the hour.
 Article 24 of African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Article 11 of Protocol of
San Salvador to the American Convention on Human Rights, and Article 12(2) (b) of
 Subhash Kumar v. State of Bihar, A.I.R. 1991 S.C. 420.
 Article 51-A (5) of the Constitution of India.
 J. Jeffrey Peirce, Environmental Pollution, and Control.