Indian cities experience a dip in air pollution amid the COVID-19 lockdown

As the nation went into lockdown for 21 days to control the spread of COVID-19, numerous Indian cities, including Delhi have been registering minimal air pollution in the past few days.

Embracing this reduction in pollution, environmentalists appealed the government to look upon this as a wake-up call, and to get over its fascination with development at the cost of environment.

India is presently under lockdown, with about 130 crore people requested to stay at home in the wake of Coronavirus outbreak, which has now affected more than 900 people in the country. In view of the lockdown, the government highlighted the importance of social distancing, and advised the people to stay at home, and prevent unnecessary travel. This step has thereafter decreased the traffic movement throughout the country, thus reducing down the pollution level in several cities.

As per the centre-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), the impact of the latest lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak has caused in a drop in PM2.5 (fine particulate pollutant) by 30 per cent in Delhi and by 15 per cent in Ahmedabad and Pune.

Additionally, the level of Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) pollution, which raises the risk of respiratory conditions, has also decreased. This is instigated mainly due to a high motor vehicle traffic. While Pune saw this level cut by 43 per cent, Mumbai observed it drop by 38 per cent, and Ahmedabad by 50 per cent.

Under the ‘good’ category, it is believed that pollution is at the lowest level and the air is considered to be the healthiest to breathe.

Now as per the data of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), currently, the air quality in Delhi is in the ‘good’ category, Kanpur’s air quality is in the ‘satisfactory’ category, whereas as many as 92 other cities with CPCB checking centres have recorded nominal air pollution, with the air quality in the series of ‘good’ to ‘satisfactory’.

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