Special Issue on “COVID-19 Aerosol Drivers, Impacts and Mitigation” (II)

Suresh Jain This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Tanya Sharma

Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Tirupati, Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh – 517 506, India


Received: April 25, 2020
Revised: May 13, 2020
Accepted: May 15, 2020

 Copyright The Author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are cited.

Download Citation: ||https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.2020.04.0171 

Cite this article:

Jain, S. and Sharma, T. (2020). Social and Travel Lockdown Impact Considering Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) on Air Quality in Megacities of India: Present Benefits, Future Challenges and Way Forward. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 20: 1222–1236. https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.2020.04.0171


  • A strong relation between lockdown in view of COVID and improvement in air quality.
  • Around 30–80% reduction in pollutants concentrations in all the megacities in India.
  • Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bangalore experienced a drastic reduction in NO2 levels.
  • Experts highlighted uplifting the economy will be the most important challenge.
  • Integrated planning required to manage the environment and economy together.


The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) created enormous pressure across the globe due to an increasing number of COVID-19 infected cases. All the governments’ primary focus is to save humanity from this pandemic problem, and they have lockdown almost the entire nation to stop the spread of infection. This lockdown resulted in a considerable impact on the global as well as a local economy that will take a long time to perform with business as usual scenario. However, improvement in the air quality of the cities across the globe has emerged as a key benefit of this lockdown. Therefore, this study aims to assess the overall impact of social and travel lockdown in five megacities of India; Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, and Bangalore. The study evaluated the spatiotemporal variations in five criteria pollutants over two time periods, i.e., March–April 2019 and March–April 2020 and 10th–20th March 2020 (before lockdown) and 25th March to 6th April 2020 (during lockdown). The results highlighted a statistically significant decline in all the pollutants in all the megacities except for ozone. It was observed that the concentration of PM2.5, PM10, NO2 and CO declined by ~41% (66–39 µg m–3), ~52% (153–73 µg m–3), ~51% (39–19 µg m–3) and ~28% (0.9–0.65 mg m–3) during the lockdown phase in comparison to the before lockdown in Delhi, respectively. Similar decline in pollutant concentration was observed in other megacities as well. Further, the study conducted an expert survey to identify the possible challenges India might face after lockdown is over. All the experts said that reviving the economy will be a big challenge for the government, and it may result in some tradeoff while managing the air quality in the near future due to scarcity of funds, etc.

Keywords: Interpolation technique; Arc GIS; Air quality; Vulnerability; Environmental health.

Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 20:1222-1236. https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.2020.04.0171 

Impact Factor: 2.735

5-Year Impact Factor: 2.827

SCImago Journal & Country Rank

Enter your email below to receive latest published articles in your field.