28% dip in air pollution during lockdown: study

Air pollution levels (measured in terms of Particulate Matter – PM 2.5 levels) dipped by 28% during the lockdown. Not just PM 2.5 levels, even the nitrogen dioxide levels fell sharply and the drop is mainly attributed to reduction in motorised transport – one of the chief contributors of pollution in the city, according to a study.

The study conducted by Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) recorded and analysed air quality data from 26 monitoring devices across the city during February 8 to March 23 (pre-lockdown) and March 25 to May 8 (during lockdown). Most of the stations recorded a drop of over 20% during the lockdown, with the device at Bellandur lake recording a dip of a whopping 75%.

The analysis of satellite data for the same period has also shown a comparative dip in nitrogen dioxide levels by around 40% during the lockdown. “Google mobility data indicates that transportation activities dropped by nearly 80% in the city,” the study says.

Similar drop in air pollution levels have been observed in most cities across the world during the lockdown.

Healthy Air Coalition, that was part of the study, has now written to the mayor calling for a ‘healthy recovery’, which builds on solutions like bike sharing and electrification of transport.

“The recovery agenda should include a robust plan to implement active and sustainable transport with dedicated paths for walking and lanes for cycling, promotion of electric vehicles and the necessary infrastructure, a curb on burning of solid waste, and implementation of construction and debris laws,” a statement from Healthy Air Coalition said.


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Sagar Biswas

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