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

19,66,15,634Cases
6,33,31,644Active
12,90,85,240Recovered
41,98,750Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 194 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 19,66,15,634 and 41,98,750 have died; 6,33,31,644 are active cases and 12,90,85,240 have recovered as on July 30, 2021 at 4:07 am.

India

3,15,72,344 44,230Cases
4,05,155 1,315Active
3,07,43,972 42,360Recovered
4,23,217 555Deaths
In India, there are 3,15,72,344 confirmed cases including 4,23,217 deaths. The number of active cases is 4,05,155 and 3,07,43,972 have recovered as on July 30, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

62,90,156 7,242

81,933 3,980

60,75,888 11,032

1,32,335 190

Kerala

33,49,365 22,064

1,55,327 5,287

31,77,453 16,649

16,585 128

Karnataka

29,01,247 2,052

23,277 685

28,41,479 1,332

36,491 35

Tamil Nadu

25,55,664 1,859

21,207 314

25,00,434 2,145

34,023 28

Andhra Pradesh

19,62,049 2,107

21,279 280

19,27,438 1,807

13,332 20

Uttar Pradesh

17,08,373 60

784 16

16,84,834 44

22,755

West Bengal

15,26,539 766

11,300 70

14,97,116 822

18,123 14

Delhi

14,36,144 51

554 19

14,10,541 70

25,049

Chhattisgarh

10,01,781 130

2,086 140

9,86,175 270

13,520

Odisha

9,74,132 1,615

15,276 489

9,53,088 2,039

5,768 65

Rajasthan

9,53,622 17

259 9

9,44,410 26

8,953

Gujarat

8,24,829 27

268 6

8,14,485 33

10,076

Madhya Pradesh

7,91,796 18

130 0

7,81,153 18

10,513

Haryana

7,69,858 30

712 10

7,59,516 17

9,630 3

Bihar

7,24,719 46

481 1

7,14,596 42

9,642 3

Telangana

6,43,716 623

9,188 126

6,30,732 746

3,796 3

Punjab

5,99,005 58

553 6

5,82,162 60

16,290 4

Assam

5,64,030 1,299

14,114 385

5,44,695 1,664

5,221 20

Jharkhand

3,47,105 56

259 22

3,41,720 34

5,126

Uttarakhand

3,41,982 48

669 3

3,33,952 51

7,361

Jammu And Kashmir

3,21,207 181

1,144 5

3,15,686 175

4,377 1

Himachal Pradesh

2,05,728 229

1,098 145

2,01,110 84

3,520

Goa

1,70,900 90

1,077 5

1,66,679 93

3,144 2

Puducherry

1,20,725 98

972 49

1,17,961 49

1,792

Manipur

96,824 1,000

10,895 27

84,408 1,016

1,521 11

Tripura

78,059 271

3,640 221

73,665 488

754 4

Meghalaya

63,745 731

5,750 294

56,933 423

1,062 14

Chandigarh

61,948 5

37 1

61,102 4

809

Arunachal Pradesh

47,477 335

4,252 49

43,000 383

225 1

Mizoram

37,171 764

11,862 252

25,168 511

141 1

Nagaland

27,653 67

1,299 51

25,798 114

556 4

Sikkim

26,132 276

3,297 180

22,498 92

337 4

Ladakh

20,324 4

60 4

20,057 8

207

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,643 1

36 5

10,603 6

4

Lakshadweep

10,162 7

70 6

10,042 13

50

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,534 3

10 3

7,395

129

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