On August 2nd, 2020, EfD Colombia senior researchers Jorge Bonilla, María Alejandra Velez and Jorge Higinio Maldonado published an opinion column in the Colombian diary “El Espectador”. In this column they discuss about the good and the bad news for the environment in the context of the confinement in Colombia.
The good news is that during the first weeks of quarantine in Colombia, the biggest cities in Colombia (Bogotá, Cali and Medellín) had an improvement on air quality. This improvement is due mainly to a reduction in traffic, which is consistent with the observed reduction of the transport activities worldwide. In the case of Bogotá, during the confinement there were episodes of bad air quality caused by forest fires in Venezuela and Colombian regions. All these observations remark the importance of doing research on the consequences of different pollution sources on air quality.
The bad news is that during the quarantine there has been an increasing of deforestation in Colombia, specially in the amazon region. Deforestation in Colombia generates the 36% of the total of greenhouse gases of the country. Confinement has implied a decreasing of monitoring of environmental strategic areas. This lack of vigilance has incentivized illegal groups and local mafias to take advantage of the situation and increase deforestation.
In general, for the economic recovery it is important that the mitigation and adaptation to climate change do not lose importance compared to other economic measures. Improving environmental conditions, biodiversity conservation, and the welfare of rural and urban communities must be a priority with or without COVID-19.
For further reading, you can find the complete column in Spanish here.