World Environment Day 5 June 2020 came in the middle of the pandemic – but Coronavirus has brought unexpected lessons for a better future!
The global reduction in human activity as a result of COVID-19 lockdowns – industrially and in terms of travel – has had an unexpected impact, giving the environment an unprecedented holiday and, with it, allowing humanity an insight into the impact of pollution on populations the world over.
Both China and India have seen vastly improved air quality – not only is breathing less hazardous, people in those countries can see further too, because there has not been the same smog.
In Italy, from early in the lockdown, the water quality in and around Venice had cleared so much that marine life was visible from above.
The details are worth looking at more closely.
In Wuhan, China, where the virus emerged, the lockdown has seen a 63% reduction in nitrogen dioxide concentrations.
By the end of April, the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air was reporting that the improvement in air quality over the previous month of the coronavirus lockdown had led to 11,000 fewer deaths from pollution in the UK and elsewhere in Europe.
It had calculated that sharp falls in road and industrial emissions meant 1.3m fewer days of work absence, 6,000 fewer children developing asthma, 600 fewer preterm births and 1,900 fewer visits to accident and emergency departments. In London alone, the City of London Corporation (the City’s ‘council’) said that, in late May, nitrogen dioxide levels in the business area had reduced by around 35% since the beginning of lockdown. Around half of the capital’s air pollution comes from road transport.
Yet even as people consider the benefits of a healthier
environment, mountains of litter left at beauty spots and in parks by people breaking out of the lockdown – raise doubts as to whether there will be any real change.
UNISON has a vital role to play in campaigning for greener politics, working with employers to make workplaces more sustainable, and informing members of global warming issues.
Members work in a wide range of jobs that have direct
environmental roles – in parks, energy and water companies, environment agencies, the meat hygiene service, environmental health, schools, buses and transport planning, cleansing, waste recycling and planning, and many more.
The union is working to help build a greener future, whether in the workplace itself or ensuring that pension funds are
“As a newly elected Environmental Officer for the Branch I would like to hear how you and your school measure up environmentally. Please take time to complete the short survey below and join in our audit for a better future post Covid.
Stay Safe.” Mark Eden
IS YOUR SCHOOL ON THE LIST?
If not, then UNISON members could be missing important updates within your school.
The following schools have a dedicated member who has volunteered to act as a branch contact. Their job is simply to circulate paper copies of branch newsletters etc posted to the school.
These contacts make sure that information circulated via email is also available to members who don’t have access to the internet.
At present, only half of all schools in St Helens are covered.
Please add your school to the list and volunteer using the branch contact form on our website OR send an email to put your name forward.
Keeping informed has never been so important.
Remain safe and if there are any issues that are a concern for you, please contact me at the branch. Neil
|Allanson Street Primary|
|Birchley St Mary’s|
|Blackbrook St Marys Primary|
|Bleak Hill Primary|
|Broad Oak Primary|
|Carr Mill Primary School|
|Cowley International College|
|De La Salle|
|District Primary School|
|Eaves Primary School|
|Eccleston Mere Primary|
|Haydock High School|
|Legh Vale School|
|Mill Green School|
|Newton St Mary’s Catholic Infants School|
|Newton St Marys Primary|
|Queens Park Primary|
|Rainford Brook Lodge Primary|
|Rainhill High School|
|St Annes Catholic Primary|
|St Austins Primary|
|St Bartholomews Primary|
|St Cuthberts High School|
|St Peters Primary|
|St Theresa’s RC Primary|
|Sutton Manor Primary|
|Thatto Heath Primary|
|Wargrave Primary School|
|Willow Tree Primary|