Our towns and cities could become greener and cleaner as a legacy of lockdown, experts hope.
Air pollution causes one in 24 deaths in Northern Ireland every year, but as the restrictions ease, two leading figures have spoken of how Covid-19 could dramatically reduce that number.
Chris Conway, group chief executive of Translink, and Dr Ian Humphreys, chief executive of environmental charity Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, believe there is a chance for change.
They hope that alongside a new working from home culture spawned from lockdown, the public's more conscious grasp of how a lesser travelled path can benefit air quality and dramatically reduce our carbon footprint will induce new habits which will subsequently save lives here.
Mr Humphreys said: "With unessential travel having stopped for quite some time, we are seeing huge benefits to air quality here in Northern Ireland."
The Centre for Cities' annual study of the UK's major urban areas, Cities Outlook 2020, found that the deadly toxin PM2.5 was linked to 178 deaths in one year - or 4.1% of all adult deaths in Belfast last year.
While that number of deaths is lower than in some other UK capitals, Belfast is the second biggest emitter of PM2.5 per head in the UK, after Swansea, said the report, which was published earlier this year.
Further data during lockdown revealed that UK nitrogen dioxide pollution levels hit a 10-year low in some UK locations as we abandoned non-essential travel and worked from home where possible.
Air pollution can contribute to deadly respiratory conditions like COPD and asthma, and some preliminary studies have even linked higher Covid-19 death rates to cities with higher levels of air pollution.
Mr Humphreys believes that the number of deaths here as a direct result of air pollution will reduce in 2020 as a result lower emissions from travel during lockdown.
And he hopes that an effort will be made by employers to include work from home days to continue to reduce traffic on our roads and help the UK Government reach its target of zero carbon emissions by 2050 - an ambitious goal set out last summer.
"What I'd like to see is that after Covid-19, we don't just go back to the way things were, that we take tactics like working from home forward for the collective good," he added.
Mr Conway, of Translink, agrees and hopes that our decision to walk or cycle rather than drive during lockdown will remain a habit well after the pandemic.
He hopes that investment in public transport will help support any greener habits taken on-board by the public from now on.
He feels there is now a real opportunity to ensure a greener future.
He added: "I think lockdown has made us all reflect on our way of life and there's certainly been a sense of rethinking and resetting things and considering what positive changes we can all make for a better future.
"Before the pandemic, the environmental issues were all too apparent - congestion and pollution - at the top of the list.
"Lockdown has magnified how immediate simple choices can have a dramatic impact on addressing these problems.
"The big reduction in air pollution during lockdown is something that everyone benefits from - and it occurred while public transport continued to operate, reinforcing the need to reduce reliance on the private car.
"We have a chance here to improve on the way things were - make this a green recovery. Sustainable travel options like walking, cycling and public transport have a massive role to play in the new normal and we welcome all measures and investment that support more active travel options."
Mr Humphreys added: "One small thing you can do that will have a great effect, is to think about how you get from A to B, and if you need to be at B at all.
Translink will continue to invest in new technology to make travelling by public transport more "flexible and reassuring," explained Mr Conway.
This means more contactless payment options which will sit alongside newer additions to the service including social distancing signage, one-way systems and in-station hand sanitisers.
Passengers are also encouraged to leave a row of seats free in front of and behind them and as of last Friday, passengers should wear face masks, with the exception of children and those with specific medical conditions who are unable to do so.
The transport organisation is also looking at the future of public transport with alternative fuel solutions in mind including hydrogen buses.
Mr Conway said that the environmental benefit of lockdown will require further collaboration across all sectors to build on a greener future.
"Of course, ongoing investment in sustainable transport will be essential to make it an attractive option for more people, ensuring we have the right services and infrastructure in place for a low carbon future," he added.
"We're making important strides with key projects like our Hydrogen Bus Pilot, Future Ticketing System and Belfast Transport Hub so it's crucial projects like these continue to drive forward if we're to tackle the climate emergency effectively.
"It'll take some time for people to get used to commuting in a different way - but each small bit done for our environment all adds up."
Mr Humphreys said small changes can make a big difference.
"You might start with walking to work and getting the bus home - but in comparison to driving your own car both ways, your contribution is immense," he added.