The world was actively discussing the fake news about how the nature is taking over due to Coronavirus quarantine: the crystal water of Venice channels, the return of swans into the city’s channels, the drunken elephants in Yuhan province and many more.
Kyiv managed to go through many “environmental” changes too, but it recovered from them even faster! Read what changed in Kyiv during quarantine, how locals got used (or did not) to new reality, and how the city was struggling to come back to good old days.
Disclaimer: the article is made to check if the sense of humor was not killed by long quarantine, and to bring the attention to some ever-lasting problems of Kyiv, which are not subject to Covid-19.
Dolphins came back to Kyiv after 1 000 000 years
The nature in Kyiv cleared itself to such a high level that the dolphins came back to Kyiv. During the strict Covid quarantine, the waters of Dnipro river got so clean, that it created a perfect environment for dolphins.
However, the locals were deeply concerned that the invasion of dolphins was nothing more than the mutation of fish that simply did not know how to react to such reduced level of water pollution.
This assumption was confirmed once the covid quarantine in Kyiv got relaxed: with the first waves of liberated people, breaking all the quarantine rules, mysterious dolphins disappeared from the Dnipro river, or at least decided not to show up, scared by too much attention.
Now people can calm down a little, since the ships, yachts, factory waste, sewage and other garbage are coming back to Dnipro river, making sure that Ukraine keeps being considered as a low-water country.
Nature revival in Kyiv airports
Not only the flocks of animals started to invade Kyiv airports once the flights were banned, but some crazy Ukrainians invasions happened after the landing of so called “evacuation flights”.
In March, Ukrainians, evacuated from Vietnam, so desperately wanted to leave the airport, that were trying to escape from it, by breaking down the door, and trying to break through to the terminal. After that, many of them refused to go through mandatory post-arrival observation.
Once again Ukrainians showed that we are a freedom-loving nation, and cannot be caged in some hotel, to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.
Tourism industry got really affected by Covid-19. One of sad examples is Kyiv Sikorsky Airport that announced facing bankruptcy amid Covid-19 crisis. Now the airport opened, but for some time was working in limited mode.
Chestnuts started growing again at the main street of Kyiv
The nature cleaned so fast during quarantine, that chestnuts, all time favorite tree of Ukrainian capital, came back to the main street of Kyiv, Khreshchatyk (you wish!)
Since chestnuts do not seem to grow in quarantine environment (or any Kyiv environment), the city decided to plant thuja instead. The city government commented that exhaust gases have a detrimental effect on chestnut trees, meanwhile thuja is not a demanding plant, and has more chances to survive in such conditions.
Later the mayor of Kyiv, Vitaly Klytchko, explained that chestnuts will be planted on Khreshchtyk street next year, as a part of Khreshchatyk reconstruction.
Rains and flooding came back to Kyiv
This winter was pretty dry and lacked snow. However, during quarantine, nature in Kyiv has been purified so much, that the pouring rains came back to Kyiv, causing the good old flooding. As a matter of fact, even the central streets that were renovated lately, such as Pushkinska and Prorizna, still turned into oceans.
Because, as old Ukrainian saying goes, no money can buy you a proper sewer system, even slightly more than 140 million UAH.
Bridges stopped “getting tired”
According to the main bridges builder of Kyiv (a.k.a. city mayor Vitaly Klytchko), Kyiv started to repair 13 bridges and overpasses during quarantine. The main works are concentrated around Podilsky Bridge that is supposed to ease the transport load on the rest of Kyiv bridges.
Since during Covid quarantine in Kyiv, the amount of cars and traffic on the roads significantly decreased, Kyiv bridges stopped “getting tired” (as it happened with Shuliavsky Bridge in 2017, according to Kyiv mayor). Though the empty roads in Kyiv was a very temporarily phenomenon, and traffics came back to the roads of Kyiv as soon as quarantine was relaxed.
Bicycles came back to Kyiv
The nature during quarantine in Kyiv healed itself so much that bicycles came back to Kyiv. Since the work of public transport in Kyiv was limited, and metro was even closed, more cyclists started to appear on the streets of Kyiv.
What’s more, some new cycling lanes appeared in the centre of the city. They turned out to be more useful for car owners, who considered these cycling paths to be new free parking places.
It’s a very generous gesture by city government: many car owners in Kyiv are referring themselves to poor people who cannot afford paid parking. So now, in addition to the sidewalks, they can use cycling paths for parking.
On June 15 the cyclists came to the City Council for a “lying” protest. The basic requirement of protesters is making the roads safer for cyclists and pedestrians. Some of the slogans were “The city for people, not for cars!”, “Don’t kill me today” etc.
Illegal construction came back to Kyiv
Not that it ever disappeared, but illegal construction in Kyiv got even more active during Covid-19 quarantine. Lockdown in Kyiv is a world of endless possibilities for illegal businesses. If something illegal was easy to construct before Coronavirus in Kyiv, with the quarantine it turned into a free pass.
Many scandals were happening around illegal construction in Podil district. One of the prominent examples – house a singer and ex-deputy Oksana Bilozir. The developer’s representative’s explained that the house does not have 12 illegal floors, it only has 4, all the rest – just mezzanine.
Ironic locals keep laughing at the situation with illegal construction in Kyiv.
If you are interested in the history of pioneers of real estate fraud in Kyiv, urban decay and learn more about urban projects in Kyiv, together with exploring off-the-beaten track Kyiv, welcome on Awful Kyiv walking tour!
Shashlyk came back to Kyiv
The nature healed itself so much, that shashlyk, ever-popular local BBQ, came back to Kyiv. Along with shashlyk, there also re-appeared shashlyk fans, who could not lose a chance to gather with friends&family in public places despite the ban on public gatherings to avoid the spread of Covid.
Once again Ukrainians confirmed the fact, that forbidden fruit (or piece of meat) is so much sweeter.
Vitaly Klytchko started his daily briefings (almost like your series on Netflix, but for free!)
The nature purified itself so much, that the mayor of Kyiv, Vitaly Klitchko, decided to update locals about all this in his daily lives on his Facebook page and a couple of other sources.
During whole pandemic, our mayor informed locals about current Coronavirus situation in Kyiv, answered the questions of media and tried to be positive and even make us laugh with every new verbal blunder (the thing our mayor loves too much), and, of course, laughed at himself too.
I personally did not miss out any mayor’s live episode, and was enjoying it no less than watching legendary “Friends”. Because in times when Coronavirus turned our world upside down, it’s nice to know there is at least some stability – seeing a smile of your mayor saying: “Take care of yourself and your beloved ones”.