Candice Anvari staff writer
Before the beach ban was implemented in California, litter was not an uncommon thing to see scattered across California’s beaches. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the earth had some time to heal; but, we need to continue practicing proactive environmental etiquette, even when we’re no longer in quarantine.
The coronavirus is not directly linked to environmental issues, but air pollution affects the way the virus interacts with people. According to a Harvard study of 3,080 counties in the U.S., the counties with more polluted air experienced a higher risk of death when coming in contact with COVID-19. The dirty air is linked to factories, cars, long-haul trucking and other uses of fossil fuels, but we can decrease the amount of polluted air by taking small steps every day to keep the environment healthy.
The coronavirus offered us the opportunity to see how the environment reacts when we stop trashing it. Personally, I never took the time to gaze out my window and think about the fresh air. But, once quarantine became mandatory, I noticed how much I love going outdoors, and it made me miss the opportunities I took for granted. Nature is still moving on, even while we’re on pause. It’s important to realize how much of an impact we’ve had on our environment. When I went on a drive with my mom along the Pacific Coast Highway, I was so shocked to see how clean the beaches looked. We need to keep them clean all the time. The beaches and streets are not our trash cans. If we don’t take the responsibility of keeping our environment clean now, we could be facing consequences in the future.
About seven million people worldwide face premature deaths due to air pollution. California is one of the most polluted states in the U.S. If we begin to take steps to decrease air pollution our immune systems will be stronger, there will be fewer premature deaths and fewer people will be susceptible to contracting viruses. We can help improve air quality by biking, instead of driving from place to place. The environment can be saved, we just have to be proactive and encourage others to be proactive as well.
In Florida, the beach ban was lifted on Cocoa Beach. Once the public left the beach, 13,000 pounds of trash were left behind them. The beachgoers didn’t take the time to think about the wildlife as they thoughtlessly enjoyed their beach day. We need to try to prevent this from happening once the California beach ban is completely lifted. If we don’t make an attempt to spread awareness about this issue through social media, this issue could be larger in California.
Now is the time to think about the little things we can do in our day to have the prospect of a bright future. Whether that’s buying a reusable water bottle, recycling, cleaning up the beaches once quarantine is over or doing any other environmentally friendly deed, we can make a difference little by little.
If students are interested in being environmental activists on campus, they can join Eco Club, Environmental Awareness Club, Blue Rock Beach Society or Heal the Bay.