With talk of lockdown restrictions being eased in the coming weeks and months, conversations are quickly moving to how the ‘new normal’ might look, post COVID-19.
To coincide with World Environment Day on Friday 5 June, researchers at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) will be taking part in an online public event, discussing the various ways in which the pandemic has affected the environment.
Four of the university’s leading experts will each share insights into their respective fields, which include plastic pollution, architecture, aviation and sustainable transport, looking at the impact that coronavirus has had and ways to move forward.
“This event will explore what the ‘new normal’ might look like and how research can help communities deal with the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis,” said Professor David Mba, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) at DMU.
“Our experts will be covering four hugely important environmental issues that affect us all in one way or another, discussing what the future looks like post coronavirus.”
Among the speakers taking part is Dr Karthikeyan Kandan, a mechanical engineering expert who made headlines last year when he created a prosthetic limb socket from recycled plastic water bottles in a bid to reduce plastic pollution. He has also made personal protective equipment (PPE) for NHS workers during the COVID-19 crisis.
Dr Kandan will be presenting the new challenges we face with plastic pollution, caused by the large amount of PPE, and ways that research can help overcome the problem.
“The COVID-19 crisis demanded an unpreceded amount of plastic to manufacture PPE for key workers and the general public, and the single-use contaminated PPE is emerging as another threat to the environment,” he explained.
Also taking part is Dr Alona Martinez Perez, senior lecturer in Architecture, who says architects, citizens and planners will need to think more creatively about workspace and social spaces moving forward.
“Cities after COVID 19 will require new ways of thinking about social distancing, and sustainable patterns of life and transport that are more efficient with regards to sustainability,” she said.
Meanwhile, aviation expert Professor Lucy Budd will be looking at the future passenger experience and the shape of the air transport sector following the global pandemic, and Professor Stephon Ison, whose research focuses on transport and sustainability, will share possible options for sustainable mobility post coronavirus.
The event will start on DMU’s Facebook page at 12.30pm on Friday 5 June, with each researcher giving a 10-minute talk on their subject. Following this, there will be round table discussion chaired by Professor David Mba and an opportunity for viewers to ask questions.
For more information visit: www.dmu.ac.uk/about-dmu/events/events-calendar/2020/june/research-and-the-covid-19-crisis.aspx.