A New Study Shows Improved Air Quality During Lockdown In India

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
Air Pollution, News
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A New Study Shows Improved Air Quality During Lockdown In IndiaThe researchers concentrated on six major urban areas: Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, and Hyderabad
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

17,91,56,496Cases
5,81,68,051Active
11,71,06,212Recovered
38,82,233Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 193 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 17,91,56,496 and 38,82,233 have died; 5,81,68,051 are active cases and 11,71,06,212 have recovered as on June 23, 2021 at 3:45 am.

India

3,00,28,709 50,848Cases
6,43,19419,327Active
2,89,94,855 68,817Recovered
3,90,660 1,358Deaths
In India, there are 3,00,28,709 confirmed cases including 3,90,660 deaths. The number of active cases is 6,43,194 and 2,89,94,855 have recovered as on June 23, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

59,87,521 8,470

1,26,468 1,055

57,42,258 9,043

1,18,795 482

Kerala

28,29,460 12,617

1,00,881 746

27,16,284 11,730

12,295 141

Karnataka

28,15,029 3,709

1,18,615 4,541

26,62,250 8,111

34,164 139

Tamil Nadu

24,36,819 6,895

56,886 4,443

23,48,353 11,144

31,580 194

Andhra Pradesh

18,57,352 4,169

53,880 4,260

17,91,056 8,376

12,416 53

Uttar Pradesh

17,04,678 202

3,910 253

16,78,486 397

22,282 58

West Bengal

14,85,438 1,852

22,508 232

14,45,493 2,037

17,437 47

Delhi

14,32,778 397

1,918 78

14,05,927 467

24,933 8

Chhattisgarh

9,91,653 482

8,007 557

9,70,244 1,032

13,402 7

Rajasthan

9,51,393 137

2,388 303

9,40,101 437

8,904 3

Odisha

8,83,490 2,957

30,859 1,240

8,48,960 4,159

3,671 38

Gujarat

8,22,620 135

5,159 480

8,07,424 612

10,037 3

Madhya Pradesh

7,89,415 65

1,707 273

7,78,902 318

8,806 20

Haryana

7,67,726 146

2,200 137

7,56,231 263

9,295 20

Bihar

7,20,207 268

2,811 206

7,07,833 468

9,563 6

Telangana

6,15,574 1,175

16,640 606

5,95,348 1,771

3,586 10

Punjab

5,93,063 405

5,968 509

5,71,207 880

15,888 34

Assam

4,88,179 2,869

32,975 350

4,50,924 2,482

4,280 37

Jharkhand

3,44,775 110

1,417 72

3,38,256 180

5,102 2

Uttarakhand

3,38,978 171

2,896 68

3,29,030 231

7,052 8

Jammu And Kashmir

3,12,584 428

7,181 578

3,01,134 999

4,269 7

Himachal Pradesh

2,00,791 188

2,276 132

1,95,062 315

3,453 5

Goa

1,64,957 303

2,920 146

1,59,029 438

3,008 11

Puducherry

1,15,364 284

3,214 150

1,10,423 433

1,727 1

Manipur

64,993 575

9,214 84

54,714 649

1,065 10

Tripura

63,140 395

3,747 163

58,735 554

658 4

Chandigarh

61,467 23

278 33

60,383 56

806

Meghalaya

45,976 421

4,273 77

40,915 341

788 3

Arunachal Pradesh

33,664 289

2,548 9

30,956 279

160 1

Nagaland

24,438 64

1,757 87

22,204 149

477 2

Ladakh

19,871 33

360 5

19,309 38

202

Sikkim

19,458 137

2,430 18

16,732 152

296 3

Mizoram

18,409 430

4,424 197

13,900 233

85

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,520 4

61 1

10,455 3

4

Lakshadweep

9,504 33

315 4

9,142 36

47 1

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,425 10

103 6

7,195 4

127

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