COVID-19 and the Sustainable Development Goals - Chapter 12: The impact of COVID-19 in curbing the goals of ensuring sustainable development of life on land (SDG 15) and below water (SDG 14)

Elsevier, COVID-19 and the Sustainable Development Goals, 2022, pp 285-303
Nirmal L.A., Jacob S.

The widespread coronavirus pandemic has halted the progress of the sustainable development goals (SDG) proposed by the United Nations. This pandemic has already shattered the economy of not only the developing countries but also the developed nations. During this period, the primary focus was on the healthcare sector, while other developmental progress wasn’t considered essential. Since the duration of the pandemic couldn’t be predicted, the SDGs are now the second priority. This chapter emphasizes on the impacts which may have caused by COVID-19 on two specific SDGs, which involve the sustainable development of marine, coastal, terrestrial, and inland aquatic ecosystem. The improper disposal of COVID-19-associated wastes, such as medical equipment, plastics, masks, and gloves, is a threat to both the lives on land and below water. Complete lockdown led to improper treatment of wastewaters before being discharged into water bodies, and waterlog caused by COVID-19 wastes in beaches resulted in the damage of aquatic ecosystem. On the contrary, the revival of the marine ecosystem closer to the coastline due to the world’s reduced economic activity is considered as an advantage. This pandemic provided a short-term success in preventing deforestation and reduced poaching, promoting the forest ecosystem. But in the long run, lack of jobs and unemployment might lead to increased cutting of trees to earn the living. Thus COVID-19 may have influenced bringing both positives and negatives to the SDGs, and these provide us with the challenges and opportunities to accomplish these goals.