Let’s face it, there haven’t been many benefits of the coronavirus. Since the middle of March, we’ve been stuck our homes and left to deal with with the doom and gloom of the situation with little positivity. However, there does seem to be some light at the end of this very long tunnel. So far, COVID-19 has seen numerous benefits for nature; skies are bluer as a result of lower air pollution rates, seas are also less polluted, and animals are returning to their natural environments. These changes to nature have begged the question of whether the coronavirus was necessary to allow the earth to ‘cleanse’ itself. Will these lower pollution levels continue into years post lockdown? The answer is unclear, yet, here are five cities where nature is currently benefiting from the COVID-19 outbreak.

Venice, Italy

The canals of Venice are usually amongst some of the busiest in the world, with thousands of tourists taking to the water every year. However, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the city is already looking very different to how it usually would at the start of the summer season. When once the Venetian waters would’ve been full of gondolas, they now have slightly smaller inhabitants in the form of fish. The lack of tourists in the city and the significant drop in water traffic is said to be the cause of these unusually clear waters, and sadly, it is unlikely that they will remain this way once travel restrictions are lifted.

Blackpool, England

Blackpool isn’t usually a place you’d associate with Mediterranean style beaches and clear, blue waters. Nonetheless, reduced pollution levels have caused locals to compare the seaside town to locations abroad over the Bank Holiday weekend. It might have something to do with the hot weather we’ve been experiencing in the UK recently, but Blackpool certainly looks utterly different from what it would’ve done this time last year. Residents took to Twitter to express their amazement at the transformation, with one user Tweeting, “Blackpool or Bahamas?? I am SHOOK”. We’re surprised too!

Jalandhar, India

A report by the Evening Standard has revealed that people in the city of Jalandhar, Northern India, are now able to see the Himalayan mountains for the first time as a result of reduced air pollution levels. It is said that the mountain range has not been seen for 30 years in the area, though this has now been made possible due to vast improvements in air quality. Details of improvements in air quality in other regions of India have also been recorded, such as in Delhi, which before the coronavirus featured on a list of the worlds’ 20 most polluted cities. The effects of COVID-19 can even be seen at the river Ganges, which now looks significantly cleaner.

Jalandhar, India
Source: Evening Standard

Los Angeles, America

Much like many of the other cities on this list, Los Angeles has recently said goodbye to smog-filled skies in favour of a much more unobstructed view. Worldwide lockdowns and travel restrictions have meant that tourists in LA are a thing of the past, and they probably won’t return until much later in the year. While this may not be such a positive for the US economy, nature has reaped the benefits of lower pollution levels in what is usually a highly polluted city. Skies which were once yellow are now blue, with one Twitter user describing the view from the LA hills as “So beautiful that it’s almost painful to look at.”

Lopburi, Thailand

In times before, the only place you’d be able to see a monkey in an urban environment would be at the zoo. Yet, while everyone else is stuck inside, it appears the monkeys in this Thai city are making the most of the quiet streets. In a video shared by The Guardian, the monkeys were even spotted “brawling” over a yoghurt pot after a reduction in tourism has meant fewer people have given them food. Animals now seem to be taking back the environment; goats have been spotted on the streets in Wales, and there have even been reports of a wild puma roaming around the city of Santiago, Chile.