Lockdown and Pollution : What will happen next?

Yes, Lockdown has led to a reduction in pollution. But, it is not permanent.

The nationwide lockdown, which has resulted in 130 crore people sitting at home, has led to a drastic decline in the pollution levels in several Indian cities. This indicates that after all the coronavirus pandemic does have a bright spot as the air quality index has shown radical improvement. This improvement is due to closure of construction activities, limited vehicular movement and shutting down of factories.

According to a Hindustan Times Report, the pollutant measuring indicator – air quality index (AQI) – reduced by 30% pan-India, with a 44% drop in north India, 33% in the south, 32% towards the west, 29% for east, and 15% for central parts of the country. Among major cities, Delhi observed the maximum AQI improvement of 49%.

Wait… The lockdown is now over. People will rush out. Will this lead to a snowball effect in pollution?

People are now slowly returning back to their normal lives, so there are going to be cars, passenger trains, public buses, taxis and functioning industries and there is going to be an increase in the pollution levels all across the country. Moreover, this change is going to be drastic, and the sudden rise in pollution will be catastrophic.

Why should we be afraid of pollution especially in the COVID times? Is there a link?

Yes, a new study done by Harvard University’s TH Chan School of Public Health has shown that those who were more exposed to pollution before the pandemic are at a greater risk to die from the novel coronavirus. “An increase of 1 μg/m3 in PM2.5 is associated with an 8% increase in the COVID-19 death rate.” the cross-sectional Harvard report said.

Therefore, air pollution is like the evil twin of coronavirus and they go hand in hand. This implies that tackling air pollution will be a crucial part of easing lockdown.

 

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