By Sonil Dedhia, Hindustan Times | April 17, 2020

The lockdown in the country has kept the people in their houses. The lack of hustle and bustle on the streets has allowed many animals appear to have come out of their holes —albeit temporarily—on the otherwise busy roads of bustling cities. Many videos and pictures of unprecedented sightings of fairly hidden wildlife have emerged from all over India, surprisingly even a concrete jungle like Mumbai. While many feel that this is nature’s way of taking over, many environmentalist and experts feel that sustaining such a change is difficult.

Actor, producer, Dia Mirza says, “People are seeing more animals ( most of them actually are not rare) around them just because they are noticing them more. They have more time, more awareness and also more time to circulate videos and photos.”

The UNEP Goodwill Ambassador and UN Secretary Generals Advocate for SDGs adds that this change is temporary, “This is the time for ‘the earth is healing’ stories because hope is important. But to think that the earth will start healing in 21 days is not correct.”

Juhi Chawla feels that a voluntary Janta curfew periodically will be a great initiative, “Every four to six months for a week or two everybody just stays home. During this period you can walk or cycle anywhere you want to but nobody drives a car or flies a plane. What I am really worried about is that we are witnessing nature so close to us and appearing all around us and when we do get back to work, we are going to spoil it all over again.”

BJP MP Maneka Gandhi says that sustaining such an environment is difficult, “The animals that you see roaming freely on the streets is because they feel they are in their natural habitat. Once the restrictions are lifted, people are going to go back to their normal lifestyle.and all kinds of pollution levels will be at it’s peak. There is nothing that we can do unless the citizens learn from this change.”

Dr Govind Singh, Director, Delhi Greens NGO hopes people realise the importance of the ecosystem, “All this while, we’ve felt that we own the planet and had created a boundary between us and them. But now, we see that the boundaries don’t exist. It’s a reminder that we share the planet with animals and birds. This change will, of course, sustain. My immediate concern is if the lock down is suddenly lifted tomorrow, a lot of road kill will happen and many animals might get injured. Many animals will continue to remain on the road as there’s no traffic right now. We need to have some kind of a system in place for that.”

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