BH CORRESPONDENT, New Delhi: The nationwide lockdown imposed to fight COVID-19 seems to have had at least one salutary effect already on the air in India’s metro cities.
Over 90 cities, including Delhi, recorded minimal air pollution in the last few days.
With most vehicles off the roads, flights grounded and all but essential businesses shut, people in some of the world’s biggest cities appear to be breathing air with relatively safer levels of pollutants, data from System of Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) show.
Delhi’s noxious smog makes the news every winter but had a “satisfactory” air quality rating on Sunday morning – just like Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Pune.
According to the Centre-run SAFAR, the impact of the measures taken due to the coronavirus outbreak has resulted in a drop in PM2.5 (fine particulate pollutant) by 30 per cent in Delhi and by 15 per cent in Ahmedabad and Pune.
The level of Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) pollution, which can increase the risk of respiratory conditions, has also reduced. NOx pollution is mainly caused due to a high motor vehicle traffic. In Pune, NOx pollution has reduced by 43 per cent, in Mumbai, by 38 per cent and in Ahmedabad, by 50 per cent.
Gufran Beig, a scientist at SAFAR, said generally in March, pollution is in the “moderate” category (Air Quality Index range: 100-200) while presently, it is in the “satisfactory” (AQI 50-100) or “good” (AQI 0-50) category.
According to the data of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the air quality in the national capital is presently in the “good” category.
— Central Pollution Control Board (@CPCB_OFFICIAL) March 29, 2020