India’s decision to put the country under a 21-day lockdown period in a bid to slow the coronavirus pandemic has a bright spot to it as far as the air quality index (AQI) of major industrial cities goes along with with Delhi, which recorded a massive drop in pollution levels.
According to Central Pollution Control Board’s National Air Quality Index data analysed by ETEnergyworld, AQI reading at Delhi’s ITO area was ‘satisfactory’ at 53 on 31 March, 2020, a reduction of about 70 per cent from previous year’s figure of 176 recorded on the same day.
A below 50 reading indicates good air quality, 51-100 is satisfactory, 101-200 is moderate, 201-300 is poor, 301-400 is very poor, and a reading above 401 is severe.
However, in Delhi’s case this reduction is largely due to a fall in vehicular emissions as a result of the lockdown. Public transport such as metro trains, buses, flights have been shut, and cab aggregators such as Ola and Uber have also suspended their operations in many cities since the announcement on 25 March.
Coming to four major industrial cities across the country. The overall fall in air pollution in these industrial cities during the lockdown period is primarily a result of factories being closed and restricted to no movement of workers and staff.
In Gujarat’s industrial hub at Ahmedabad, which is famous for its cotton textile and diamond industry, the overall air quality has improved significantly.