COVID has given the answer for winter life threatening pollution: Lock Down

India

healthysoch

Dr K K Aggarwal, President and Dr Anil Kumar Director Environment, Heart Care Foundation of India

New Delhi, March 27, 2020 ;

COVID 19 pandemic has shown scary picture in number of countries and as a preventive measure entire India has been lock down for 21 days starting from 25-03-2020.

In Delhi, lock down is from 22-03-2020 (the day of Janta Curfew) and almost no movement of people and vehicles on roads in last 5 days. This has resulted in improved air quality in Delhi. In Delhi, prominent pollutants are PM10 and PM2.5. As per Central Control Room for Air quality Management – Delhi NCR, the average values of PM10 and PM2.5 in Delhi- NCR from 21-03-2020 to 26-03-2020 are as follows:

Date: 21-03-2020 (the day before Janta curfew):

Time PM10 (Standard – 100 microgram per metre cube ) PM2.5 (Standard – 60 microgram per metre cube )
6:00 AM 203.4 87.0
12 Noon 188.4 79.0
6:00 PM 187.4 79.5
11: 00 PM 184.0 80.4

Date: 22-03-2020 (the day of Janta curfew):

Time PM10 (Standard – 100 microgram per metre cube ) PM2.5 (Standard – 60 microgram per metre cube )
6:00 AM 182.9 86.8
12 Noon 177.3 88.8
6:00 PM 159.6 82.7
11: 00 PM 129.6 72.6

Date: 23-03-2020 (starting day of Lock down):

Time PM10 (Standard – 100 microgram per metre cube ) PM2.5 (Standard – 60 microgram per metre cube )
6:00 AM 104.8 58.9
12 Noon 98.5 54.2
6:00 PM 96.7 51.7
11: 00 PM 105.1 52.7

Date: 24-03-2020 (Lock down continued):

Time PM10 (Standard – 100 microgram per metre cube ) PM2.5 (Standard – 60 microgram per metre cube )
6:00 AM 115.9 58.5
12 Noon 118.1 58.6
6:00 PM 127.7 62.1
11: 00 PM 109.5 55.1

Date: 25-03-2020 (Lock down continued):

Time PM10 (Standard – 100 microgram per metre cube ) PM2.5 (Standard – 60 microgram per metre cube )
6:00 AM 94.6 45.5
12 Noon 81.2 39.4
6:00 PM 67.8 34.7
11: 00 PM 72.5 37.3

Date: 26-03-2020 (Lock down continued):

Time PM10 (Standard – 100 microgram per metre cube ) PM2.5 (Standard – 60 microgram per metre cube )
6:00 AM 75.8 40.9
12 Noon 75.0 39.5
2:00 PM 75.0 39.4
     

These levels of PM10 and PM 2.5 indicate significant declined trend in values of PM10 and PM2.5 due to restriction of movement of people and vehicles on roads as well as of stoppage of all other activities causing air pollution. During complete Lock down, the air quality in Delhi-NCR is within the standards.

Further, the Air quality Index (AQI) of various Continuous Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Stations (CAAQMS), maintained by DPCC, CPCB and IMD in Delhi, on 26-03-2020 at 3:00 PM is in the range of 51 to 137 which is in the satisfactory/ moderate range.

There are six AQI categories, namely Good, Satisfactory, Moderate, Poor, Very Poor, and Severe. Each of these categories is decided based on ambient concentration values of air pollutants and their likely health impacts (known as health breakpoints). AQ sub-index and health breakpoints are evolved for eight pollutants (PM10, PM2.5, NO2, SO2, CO, O3, NH3, and Pb) for which short-term (up to 24-hours) National Ambient Air Quality Standards are prescribed.

These results indicate that such measures can be taken to control Severe condition (smog condition) of air pollution in Delhi-NCR, which is happening every year in the month of November.

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