Not many years ago, global citizens pledged to walk the path of sustainable development under the leadership of the United Nations and respective national agencies. Governments of several countries, along with NGOs and independent enthusiasts, attempted to follow the same. However, 2020 witnessed the inevitable coronavirus crisis. I don’t see a single goal related to sustainable development that is left unimpacted by the outbreak of this pandemic.
Every eye and ear knows the situation of daily wage workers and migrant labourers. Factories are closed, construction work has stopped, commoners are inside their homes; all this has resulted in loss of their income, increased poverty, mass hunger and poor health conditions. If you say the government is distributing ration, I can challenge you that you are not the one on the receiving end. Lack of income and hunger has forced labourers and workers to travel thousands of miles bare-foot to reach their villages to feed their families. Their health situation is probably unimaginable to the privileged.
Schools and colleges are closed. The current academic session is running late, though some institutions have opted for remote learning. Academic and competitive examinations have been either postponed or cancelled. The impact? — compromising with quality education. Students who don’t have access to the internet have no way to learn. No doubt that sustainable goal number 10, Reduced Inequalities, is completely on back-foot. Various parts of the world are locked down and according to several reports, there is a 60% increase in the number of cases of domestic violence.
I saw a few social media posts and articles mentioning that the lockdown has created a positive impact on climate action and environment, but I simply disagree. At first instance, anyone would agree with them, but if you look at the situation carefully from different dimensions, you would find it really scary.
Due to the lockdown, people have lost the commitment towards climate and environment. It’s sure that transportation and production would resume in the coming days, imagine the result when the best of the organisms would be out without commitment. The government or any agency would have no mouth to speak against their activities, as all their activities would come under the make-up of economic instability faced during the lockdown. The under-water situation is also no different.
The outbreak has created differences among communities. The elements who have created such issues are not limited to social media and can easily be seen on roads beating health warriors. Those infected with COVID-19 are seen like a suspect of some crime. I won’t blame anyone, but the role of government and media is not appreciable.
The entire world is facing a crisis, and globalisation has been impacted adversely. But what gives us hope is the understanding among countries to help each other in the ‘World’s war’ and not World War. The pandemic has no doubt marked the importance of international cooperation on several issues. Hope our leaders too would learn the lesson being taught by the crisis.