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A New Study Shows Improved Air Quality During Lockdown In India

The international team of researchers used data from a range of Earth Observation sensors, including those from the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-5p and NASA’s MODIS sensors, to measure changes in surface temperature and atmospheric pollutants and aerosols

A New Study Shows Improved Air Quality During Lockdown In India
Highlights
  • Study compared data from 2020 March-May lockdown with pre-pandemic years
  • The researchers revealed a reduction in Nitrogen Dioxide, a greenhouse gas
  • An average decrease of 12% in NO2 was recorded throughout India

London: Research by scientists from the University of Southampton (UK) and the Central University of Jharkhand (India) and has shown the first COVID-19 lockdown in India led to an improvement in air quality and a reduction in land surface temperature in major urban areas across the country. The study found that travel and work restrictions imposed early in the pandemic resulted in a significant environmental improvement, due to an abrupt reduction in industrial activities and a major decrease in the use of land and air transport.

Also Read: Satellite Study Finds Rising Levels Of Hidden Air Pollutants In Indian Cities

The international team used data from a range of Earth Observation sensors, including those from the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-5p and NASA’s MODIS sensors, to measure changes in surface temperature and atmospheric pollutants and aerosols.

They concentrated on six major urban areas: Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, and Hyderabad — comparing data from the 2020 March to May lockdown with pre-pandemic years. Their findings, published in the journal Environmental Research, provide a strong evidence base for potential environmental benefits through larger-scale policy implementation.

Also Read: Air Pollution Costs Indian Businesses $95 Billion Each Year That Is 150 Per Cent Of India’s Healthcare Budget: Report

The researchers revealed a significant reduction in Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), a greenhouse gas emitted from the combustion of fossil fuels, which equated to an average decrease of 12 per cent throughout India and 31.5 per cent over the six cities. There was a 40 per cent reduction over the national capital, New Delhi. In India alone, about 16,000 premature deaths occur annually due to exposure to poor air quality.

The study also found Land Surface Temperature (LST) over major cities in India substantially declined in contrast with the previous five-year average (2015-2019) with day temperatures being up to 1degC cooler and those at night up to 2degC cooler. Co-author Professor Jadu Dash, from the University of Southampton, commented:

The lockdown provided a natural experiment to understand the coupling between urbanisation and local microclimate. We clearly observed that reduction in atmospheric pollutants (due to reduction in anthropogenic activity during lockdown) resulted in a decrease in the local day and night-time temperature. This is an important finding to feed into the planning for sustainable urban development.

Also Read: Delhi Has Taken More Air Pollution Control Measures Than Any Other City But There Is Still A Long Way Ahead: CSE Report

Along with surface temperature, the atmospheric fluxes at the surface and top of the atmosphere also significantly declined over major parts of India. The reduction of greenhouse gas concentration, higher atmospheric water vapour content and meteorological conditions played a complex role in the land and near-surface temperature reduction. Commenting on the research, Dr Bikash Parida, from the Central University of Jharkhand said:

Aerosol optical depth (AOD) and absorption AOD showed a significant reduction which could be connected with the reduction in the emission sources across India during the lockdown. The aerosol type sources, such as organic carbon (OC), black carbon (BC), mineral dust, and sea salt also reduced significantly. Moreover, in central India, increases in AOD were attributed to the supply of dust aerosols transported from the western Thar desert region, Dr Parida said.

Dr Gareth Roberts from the University of Southampton added: “Satellite instruments play a vital role in acquiring information on the Earth’s environment in a timely manner. This study has illustrated the importance of Earth Observation data for monitoring changes in the atmospheric pollutants, which are a significant health risk, and in highlighting the impact that anthropogenic activities have on regional air quality.”

Also Read: World Air Quality Report Highlights: India’s Air Quality Improved In 2020, But 22 of 30 World’s Most Polluted Cities Are In India

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

World

24,06,78,961Cases
20,23,40,977Active
3,34,39,331Recovered
48,98,653Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 195 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 24,06,78,961 and 48,98,653 have died; 20,23,40,977 are active cases and 3,34,39,331 have recovered as on October 18, 2021 at 4:17 am.

India

3,40,81,315 13,596Cases
1,89,6946,152Active
3,34,39,331 19,582Recovered
4,52,290 166Deaths
In India, there are 3,40,81,315 confirmed cases including 4,52,290 deaths. The number of active cases is 1,89,694 and 3,34,39,331 have recovered as on October 18, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

65,91,697 1,715

32,230 994

64,19,678 2,680

1,39,789 29

Kerala

48,54,321 7,555

88,186 3,292

47,39,270 10,773

26,865 74

Karnataka

29,83,459 326

9,479 58

29,36,039 380

37,941 4

Tamil Nadu

26,87,092 1,218

14,814 208

26,36,379 1,411

35,899 15

Andhra Pradesh

20,60,472 432

6,034 159

20,40,131 586

14,307 5

Uttar Pradesh

17,10,028 9

119 10

16,87,011 19

22,898

West Bengal

15,80,530 624

7,421 24

15,54,132 634

18,977 14

Delhi

14,39,390 32

320 6

14,13,981 38

25,089

Odisha

10,35,077 443

4,542 68

10,22,250 508

8,285 3

Chhattisgarh

10,05,654 16

183 2

9,91,901 14

13,570

Rajasthan

9,54,390 2

42 2

9,45,394 4

8,954

Gujarat

8,26,290 10

207 6

8,15,997 16

10,086

Madhya Pradesh

7,92,684 5

84 12

7,82,077 17

10,523

Haryana

7,71,076 15

123 9

7,60,904 6

10,049

Bihar

7,26,026 5

48 4

7,16,317 1

9,661

Telangana

6,68,955 122

3,924 55

6,61,093 176

3,938 1

Assam

6,06,468 205

3,436 46

5,97,082 245

5,950 6

Punjab

6,02,035 27

227 8

5,85,264 16

16,544 3

Jharkhand

3,48,430 7

122 1

3,43,173 8

5,135

Uttarakhand

3,43,756 9

178 1

3,36,181 8

7,397

Jammu And Kashmir

3,31,062 95

843 12

3,25,793 107

4,426

Himachal Pradesh

2,21,437 131

1,303 5

2,16,414 125

3,720 1

Goa

1,77,522 60

604 6

1,73,572 62

3,346 4

Puducherry

1,27,396 52

585 13

1,24,961 64

1,850 1

Manipur

1,22,737 104

1,422 0

1,19,418 102

1,897 2

Mizoram

1,12,848 249

11,633 1,143

1,00,829 1,389

386 3

Tripura

84,321 16

104 4

83,401 12

816

Meghalaya

82,953 55

845 32

80,673 86

1,435 1

Chandigarh

65,302 3

25 3

64,457 6

820

Arunachal Pradesh

54,987 7

140 30

54,567 37

280

Sikkim

31,749 4

174 8

31,184 12

391

Nagaland

31,611 40

248 12

30,689 28

674

Ladakh

20,878 2

36 10

20,634 12

208

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,676 1

4 1

10,668

4

Lakshadweep

10,365

0 0

10,314

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,641

9 0

7,503

129

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