When the Indian Government decided to impose a nationwide lockdown, it was drafted to stop the looming spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19.
But grating this country of 1.3 billion people to a near layoff has also given a break to nature, to heal itself. The nationwide lockdown has provided a temporary remedy to another pressing health issue, pollution level.
Lockdown Causes a Decrease in Pollution
India being the 2nd largest populated country has a severe effect on Pollution control during this lockdown period. ALL the factories, markets, shops, and places of worship are now closed, most public transport suspended and construction work is frozen.
Prime minister Narendra Modi requested Indian citizens to stay home and practice social distancing. So far, India has more than 3,700 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 80 deaths.
Most of the Indian cities are recording much lower levels of harmful microscopic particulate matter known as PM 2.5, and of nitrogen dioxide, which is released mainly by vehicles and power plants.
PM 2.5, is considered very hazardous as it can go deep into the lungs and pass into other organs, causing very serious health risks especially to the person suffering from any kind of breathing deficiencies.
The sudden fall in pollutants and the following blue skies signal a gradual shift for India — which has 21 of the world’s 30 most polluted cities, as per the 2019 World Air Quality Report.
The data from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), was collated by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA). NO2 went from 52 per cubic meter to 15 in the same period — also a 71% fall. Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, and Delhi have also recorded a fall in these dangerous air pollutants.
Jyoti Pande Lavakare, the co-founder of Indian environmental organization Care for Air said that she has not seen such blue skies in Delhi for the past 10 years.
Lowest Traffic Pollution
Gufran Beig, a scientist with the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) said that during the first 3 weeks of March, the average NO2 levels declined by 40-50% in the cities of Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, and Ahmedabad, compared with the same period in 2018 and 2019.
Gufran Beig told the reduced fossil fuel emissions due to (the) transport sector and the slowdown in other emissions-related activity is slowly reducing the air pollutants.
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