Behaviour change is essential to minimize impacts on environment from COVID-19

With many shops and offices closed, lower emission on roads, people are staying at home, local air quality has dramatically improved in Yangon Region amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Globally, emissions have dropped, and the demand for coal and oil is lower than it has been in a long time, due in large part to the decline in demand from transport and slowdown in manufacturing.
The COVID-19 restrictions are having short-term environmental benefits demonstrating what can be done differently.
But, this crisis also brings an opportunity to effectively implement our country’s “environmental management system’ to prevent degradation of the ecosystem and environmental damages through our behaviour change in significant ways.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic highlights the need for a comprehensive and integrated approach to human health.
Enhancing environmental health through better air quality, water and sanitation, waste management, along with efforts to safeguard biodiversity, will reduce the vulnerability of communities to pandemics and thus improve overall societal well-being and resilience. Effective waste management is essential to minimize possible secondary impacts upon health and the environment while water access and quality and biodiversity protection are key to battling the spread of pandemics.
Limiting people’s exposure to air and water pollution will reduce vulnerability to future pandemics and contribute to enhancing health and well-being.
While fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to make efforts for helping the people to change their behaviors and life style which could encourage sustainable production and consumption even after restrictions are lifted.
Meanwhile, necessary measures should be taken to enforce the rules and regulations and procedures related to disposal of waste materials, waste water treatment, garbage system, and environmental degradation caused by illegal mining; in short we need to raise environmental awareness.
A better understanding of the role of environmental health as a crucial component of overall health priorities will help to inform policy responses in the recovery from the current pandemic and preparedness for future such shocks. Such an understanding will also generate significant co-benefits in terms of improving the overall health of communities and increasing the resilience of societies.
To turn the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic into opportunities for environmental health, we need to promote individual and collective behaviour change in terms of reducing environmental pollution.

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