Keep up with key trends in Licensing with 500px’s Sr. Art Director, Karen Biilmann, as she analyzes common threads and current themes throughout our Contributors’ photography submissions. From washing your hands to the environmental impact of self-isolating, here’s what’s trending in the 500px Licensing Collection.

It’s not rocket science — a handwashing movement has taken the world by storm, insisting the global population reclaim ownership over hygiene and health. Dubbed as a “basic proactive measure” by WHO (World Health Organization), instructional videos, infographics, and step-by-step guides on how to wash your hands have earned a spot next to every sink in the world.

Washing Up by Stephen Jackson on 500px.com

Washing hands with water and liquid soap in the bathroom. Hygiene anti by Marian Vejcik Slovcar on 500px.com

Some may wonder why something so rudimentary has become such a global phenomenon—was the inclination to wash hands ever second nature?

What’s more alarming are the various statistics COVID-19 has been able to shed around the typical hand washing routines. According to a survey conducted by ‘Teacher Tapp’ in the UK, 37% of schools did not have soap available for their students to wash their hands with. It is also not legally required to have soap available in washrooms.

In 2017, North Yorkshire County Council took a deeper look into the correlation between hygiene and schools and found 22 million school days were missed every year due to colds. This is possibly preventable when simple hand washing techniques are employed. Countries such as Japan, offer long washbasins for students and teachers to frequently wash their hands in to help curb the spread of common colds.

Many Helping Hands by JX K on 500px.com

According to Getty Images, people participating in preventative measures such as washing their hands, using hand sanitizer, or applying moisturizer to combat the dry skin associated with frequent hand washing are currently in high demand.

Hand using alcohol for protection from Coronavirus Disease COVID-19 by kumpol shuansakul on 500px.com

Young mother with a baby boy doing housework. by Jozef Polc on 500px.com

However, handwashing techniques are not the only thing COVID-19 has influenced over the last few months. As this pandemic continues to force borders, companies, and individuals into isolation, the environmental impact from slowing down continues to show.

Countries that were hit particularly hard with the COVID-19 outbreak, such as Italy, are now beginning to see a shift in their pollution levels. The Venice Canal sees an average of 700,000 visitors over the month of March, contributing to harmful levels of pollution in the murky waters. Euro Weekly News reports the canal is now being given the chance to clear as everything comes to a grinding halt.

Venice...at the time of Covid-19 by Monica Perin on 500px.com

Air quality has also improved in Italy. According to the Washington Post, “pollution is plummeting in Italy in the wake of coronavirus”. Data from the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-5p satellite shows that between the period of January 1, 2020, and March 12, 2020, concentrations of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), fell drastically. Experts suggest this trend will continue as more countries prepare for further isolation measures.

While this offers little comfort to those in the midst of grappling with this invisible and highly contagious disease, it is a stark reminder of the impact our global population has on our environment and what proactive measures should be taken with respect to combatting the long-term effects of a climate crisis.

Corona virus. Covid-19. Masked man in turkey. Galata tower. by Tolga Ta?temel on 500px.com

The moral of this story: please wash your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds.

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