COVID-19 has brought unexpected positive outcome globally —ILO
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) said the human tragedy of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought an unexpected positive outcome across the globe.
In a report titled: ‘Grasp the silver lining of the COVID-19 pandemic’, the ILO said the lockdown of industries, and having cars off the streets for months have led to dramatic falls in air pollution and greenhouse gas emission.
“With industries on lockdown for months and cars off the streets of our cities, we’ve witnessed dramatic falls in air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions across the planet,” the organisation said.
Besides, the ILO said, the disruptions to global foods systems have breathed new life into urban farming; adding, “in cities such as Bangkok and Paris, lockdowns measures have pushed more city dwellers to grow fruit and vegetables in their homes. Singapore, which currently imports more than 90 per cent of its food, aims to produce 30 per cent of its nutritional needs locally by 2030, and has encouraged communities and social enterprises to engage in urban farming.”’
The report said: “In several African countries, social entrepreneurs, universities and individuals have developed eco-friendly and cost-effective products as part of the fight against the virus. For example, several prototypes of touch-less hand washing systems have been produced using recycled and/or reused materials generated by carpenters and welders.
“In addition, because of the tremendous growth in e-commerce and home delivery during the pandemic, leading packaging companies are researching the development of environmentally sustainable packaging.”
Also, the ILO pointed out that the pandemic has prompted a number of companies to protect themselves from future shocks by integrating environmental and disaster risk management into their business planning and investing in sustainable supply chains.
It said: “However, as lockdowns ease across the world, we are already seeing pollution levels and greenhouse gas emissions rise, as countries attempt to go back to business as usual.”
“So, while the pandemic has shown the possibilities of making dramatic, positive changes to our environment in a short space of time, it has also exposed how easily the planet can sink back onto its previous destructive path”, it added.
Prior to the pandemic, the ILO studies showed that if patterns of global warming remained unchanged, by 2030 labour productivity equivalent to 80 million full time jobs could be lost because of heat stress.
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