Preet Lal1, Amit Kumar  1,4, Supriya Bharti2,3, Purabi Saikia4,5, Dibyendu Adhikari6, M.L. Khan  4,7

1 Department of Geoinformatics, Central University of Jharkhand, Ranchi-835205, Jharkhand, India
2 Project Implementation Unit, National Highway Authority of India, Gurgaon, Haryana, India
3 Department of Civil Engineering, Dronacharya College of Engineering, Gurgaon, Haryana, India
4 Commission of Ecosystem Management, South Asia, IUCN, 110016 New Delhi, India
5 Department of Environmental Sciences, Central University of Jharkhand, Ranchi-835205, Jharkhand, India
6 Department of Botany, North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong-793022, Meghalaya, India
7 Department of Botany, Dr Harisingh Gour Vishwavidyalaya (A Central University), Sagar, Madhya Pradesh-470003, India


Received: May 16, 2020
Revised: August 18, 2020
Accepted: October 31, 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.2020.05.0229  

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Cite this article:

Lal, P., Kumar, A., Bharti, S., Saikia, P., Adhikari, D. and Khan, M.L. (2020). Lockdown to Contain the COVID-19 Pandemic: An Opportunity to Create a Less Polluted Environment in India. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.2020.05.0229


HIGHLIGHTS

  • COVID-19 induced lockdown led to a significant reduction in atmospheric pollution.
  • > 46% decrease in daily average PM2.5 in five different megacities of India.
  • > 10% reduction in NO2 evident in 73.71% parts of India during 27 days of lockdown.
  • High negative (< –1) anomaly in AOD observed in 32.92% parts of India.
  • Less contribution of meteorological variables in the abatement of pollution during the lockdown period.
 

ABSTRACT


Keeping aside the economic consequences, the imposition of strict lockdown in order to break the chain of deadly infection of SARS-CoV-2, has potentially improved the global environmental quality by facilitating a significant reduction in atmospheric pollution. In the present study, the level of atmospheric pollutants in India viz., NO2, AOD, and PM2.5 before and during lockdown 2020 were assessed and compared using standard methods. The study revealed a significant reduction in NO2 i.e., >10% change in 73.71% parts in India along with a high negative anomaly of AOD (< -1.0 in 32.92% parts in India) primarily in the Indo-Gangetic Plains, western, southern, and eastern parts during the lockdown. The five megacities observed a sharp decline in the daily mean concentration of PM2.5 (ca. 32% (Delhi) to 59.62% (Bengaluru) during the lockdown 2020 as compared to the analogous period of lockdown in 2019. The study exhibited the very less contribution of seasonal and meteorological variables in the abatement of pollution during the lockdown period. The findings may be useful in guiding future strategies to maintain environmental quality by adopting a well-planned lockdown strategy.


Keywords: NO2; AOD; PM2.5; Lockdown in India.




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