COVID-19 impact: Delhi breathes clean air

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NEW DELHI:The world’s largest lockdown means all factories, markets, shops, and places of worship are now closed, most public transport suspended and construction work halted, as India asks its citizens to stay home and practice social distancing.

As the 21-day lockdown continued , pollutants from industries, along with air and road traffic pollution reduced and with that Delhi saw a third straight week of clean air.

On Sunday, the overall Air Quality Index in Delhi was at 82, which comes under the ‘satisfactory’ category, per the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR).

There was a remarked improvement in air quality in the NCR, as the harmful PM10 and PM2.5 levels were down by 35-40% in Delhi. This drop was attributed to the restriction of the particulate matter and NOx concentration levels, both major pollutants in the NCR, according to a survey conducted by the Central Pollution Control Board.

Tanushree Ganguly, programme associate, (Council on Energy, Environment and Water)
said “It is critical to note that we are witnessing clear skies primarily because of the reduction in non-essential travel and industrial processes.

“I have not seen such blue skies in Delhi for the past 10 years,” said Jyoti Pande Lavakare, the co-founder of Indian environmental organization Care for Air, and author of upcoming book “Breathing Here is Injurious To Your Health.”

As a result air quality in Delhi is better than 2018 and 2019.

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