27 May The Turning Tide
ESS explores one of the welcome changes that has come because of the COVID-19 lockdown, how and why this development may have occurred and what ESS is doing to ensure changes like this become more commonplace.
Ebb and flow
Lockdown has been a challenging time, with millions of Britons heeding the advice to stay at home and restrict their freedom of movement for the good of all.
The duty doesn’t just belong to the U.K. either, around the world people have been working from home where possible and avoiding public gatherings in order to protect their own health and that of others.
However, the absence of human activity on the grand stage has not been without a few benefits-particularly to the natural world.
Lake Vembanad in India, the longest freshwater lake in the country, has seen an increase in water clarity of approximately 16%.
Similar improvements in water quality have also been reported in both the Ganges and Yamuna rivers, believed to be a result of reduced human activity and industrial effluents
Across Europe many have reported reduced air and water pollution, blossoming wildlife and ecosystems, both old and new, rising and surfacing in humanity’s wake.
Despite rumours of Dolphins taking up residence in the canals of Venice having evaporated, the floating city has enjoyed its waters becoming clearer because of reduced boat traffic.
A 2019 European Parliamentary report described both air and water pollution levels as “worrying” in Venice however Giovanni Cecconi, Founder of the Venice Resilience Lab, believes this respite may be the first step to a new attitude surrounding the canals:
“I foresee an opportunity to start the management of the lagoon, of the ecosystem and the habitats.”
The good news also continues on home soil, with residents of Portsmouth enjoying tropical-looking waters in the Solent, a narrow strait between the south coast and the Isle of Wight.
Mike Woods, a local photographer, has made headlines with his stunning drone footage of the azure waters now bathing the south coast.
“There has been a lot of talk about the colour of the water in the area recently and I think the perception is… nature is thriving …We’ve never, ever seen the water look this clear before, it’s lovely.”
Data across the UK has shown that tiny particle pollution has dropped by as much as half in Bristol, Cardiff and London while in Manchester it has dropped by a quarter.
Guardians of the deep
Of course, when lockdown ends and the UK, along with the rest of the world, is looking to make up lost ground economically, there is a chance we will end up treading water with things returning to how they were.
However, we now have an opportunity to reflect on the practices that led to business as usual and perhaps amend them to keep a little of what we have found in lockdown.
Maintaining water clarity and cleanliness is the responsibility of every individual within the community, in this case your business, and can be achieved with simple steps. The use of organic hand soaps, for example, means less lingering chemicals in waterways while the proper disposal of food waste can reduce the amount of particulate matter suspended in bodies of water.
Water saving is a cornerstone in any businesses sustainability model and ESS can foster both a cultural and technological shift within companies to water-conscious working.
Initially, ESS will recommend a company-wide commitment to water conservation, demonstrated by departmental nominees to act as ambassadors for the new scheme.
Subsequently, ESS will assess and upgrade sites to use water-efficient technology and encourage ongoing education in the subject for team members.
The first step to establishing new cultures within a working community is introducing expert guidance, in the context of water conversation you can find what you need at ESS’ website.