The only good that has come out of the coronavirus lockdown is that nature is recuperating. While humans are practicing social distancing by staying indoors, this has given an opportunity for nature to take over. Rare species of animals that weren’t seen for decades are now strolling through streets and at the same time, we can finally breathe air that’s not polluted.
India, home to 14 of the 20 cities with the most hazardous air in 2019 is now breathing air that is not toxic. Air pollution over northern India has dropped to a 20-year low and there is a significant decrease in aerosol levels across northern India, according to satellite data published by US space agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). “We knew we would see changes in atmospheric composition in many places during the lockdown,” said Pawan Gupta, a Universities Space Research Association (USRA) scientist at NASA”s Marshall Space Flight Center. He further mentioned that he has never seen aerosol values so low in the Indo-Gangetic Plain around March-April which is when there’s seasonal dust.
Aerosols are tiny solid and liquid particles suspended in the air that reduce visibility and can damage the human lungs and heart. In India, human-made aerosols mostly contribute to unhealthy levels of air pollution in many cities. In Delhi, for instance, the AQI mostly ranges between 300-500 throughout the year. For the past few days, it has been in the range of 40-90.
The entire world celebrated Earth Day on April 22 and there couldn’t be a better time for these lovely pictures from India to do the rounds.
Several experts are even debating that the improved air quality right now can probably help India spark a clean air movement in the future. While that is for the Centre to decide, what we can do right now is pledge to do our bit to keep the AQI low by practicing sustainable methods of living.
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