Toxic air reduced by 54% in 5 cities during lockdown

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New Delhi: The Kovid-19 lockdown reduced hazardous air pollutants in five Indian cities – Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Mumbai – up to 54 percent in saving 630 people from premature deaths, UK scientists A team, led by an Indian-origin researcher, has found.
At the end of March 2020, a complete lockdown of internal and external borders came into effect with measures of social isolation in India, affecting the lives and mobility of its 1.3 billion population.
“Kovid-19 has a devastating impact on the lives and livelihoods of billions of people around the world,” said researcher Prashant Kumar, a professor at the University of Surrey in the UK.
Kumar said, “This tragic global event has allowed us to quantify the impact that human activity has had on our environment and, in particular, our air quality.”
For the study published in the journal Sustainable Cities and Society, the research team studied the levels of harmful fine particulate matter (PM2.5) generated from vehicles and other non-vehicle sources in five Indian cities since the start of the lockdown. By 11 May 2020.
The team analyzed the PM2.5 distribution and referenced its findings against those from other cities around the world.
They explored the possible factors influencing the divergence concentration changes in different cities as well as the difference between aerosol loadings at the regional level.
In their work, the research team compared these lockdown air pollution data to the same period of the last five years.
The results showed that the lockdown reduced the concentrations of harmful particles in all five cities, from a 10 percent decrease in Mumbai to 54 percent in Delhi.
These reductions in PM2.5 were found in comparison to reductions in other cities around the world, such as Vienna (60 percent) and Shanghai (42 percent).
The team examined the monetary value of avoiding premature mortality due to reduced concentrations of PM2.5, and calculated that premature death in India saved 630 people and $ 690 million in health costs.
The team reported that the current lockdown situation provides opportunities for observation about possible control systems and regulations for improved urban air quality.
The authors of the study wrote, “While the reduction of PM2.5 pollution may not be surprising, the size of the reduction should all of us be mindful of the impact on the planet.”

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