Air quality improving in India as 130 bn people stay home amid lockdown

People walk along the Rajpath road | Photo: PTI
The nationwide 'Janta Curfew' on March 22 and the 21-day lockdown imposed since March 24 to combat the coronavirus outbreak have resulted in a significant improvement in air quality in the country, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has said.

Travel restrictions and closure of industries have helped reduce the pollution level.

"The major sectors contributing to air pollution are transport, industries, power plants, construction activities, biomass burning, road dust resuspension and residential activities. In addition, certain activities such as operation of DG sets, restaurant, landfill fires, etc. also contribute to air pollution," the pollution watchdog said.

"As a result of stringent travel restrictions and shutting down of non-essential activities including those of air polluting sectors, air quality improvement has been noted in many towns and cities across the nation," it added.

Lockdown reduces pollution

With a nationwide lockdown in place in view of coronavirus, India continued to breathe easy as pollution level in 88 cities across the country remained minimal.

Out of the 103 cities where air quality was recorded, 23 registered 'good' air quality while 65 others recorded satisfactory air quality, according to the data from the Central Pollution Control Board.

An AQI between 0-50 is considered good, 51-100 satisfactory, 101-200 moderate, 201-300 poor, 301-400 very poor and 401-500 severe.

Air Quality Index is assessment of the air quality by taking into account different factors. The lower the AQI the better the air is considered to be.

The national capital witnessed a slight dip in air quality after the effect of rain subsided but it remained in the satisfactory category.

UP's Bulandshahr and Guwahati were the only two cities out of 103 that recorded poor air quality.

India is currently under the biggest lockdown with around 130 crore people asked to stay home in view of the coronavirus outbreak, which has claimed 29 lives and infected over 1000 people in the country.

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