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  India   All India  23 Apr 2020  Lockdown reveals fresh air, cleaner rivers in India

Lockdown reveals fresh air, cleaner rivers in India

AP
Published : Apr 23, 2020, 2:47 pm IST
Updated : Apr 23, 2020, 2:47 pm IST

On March 25, the first day of the lockdown, the average PM 2.5 levels decreased by 22%

Deserted banks of the Sangam, the confluence of the rivers Ganges and Yamuna are seen during lockdown to control the spread of the coronavirus in Prayagraj, India (AP)
 Deserted banks of the Sangam, the confluence of the rivers Ganges and Yamuna are seen during lockdown to control the spread of the coronavirus in Prayagraj, India (AP)

India’s extended lockdown to curb the coronavirus outbreak has shut down schools, workplaces, industries, transport, and forced people to stay home.

It also led to an unexpected bonus in the country with six out of 10 of the world’s most polluted cities: cleaner air.

“It is a hell of a change,” said Kunal Chopra, who suffers from chronic bronchitis and whose morning walks no longer begin with a shot from an inhaler. “The air is much fresher and my breathing problems have gone down.”

India accounts for the highest pollution-related deaths in the world with more than 2 million people every year, according to a December 2019 report by the Global Alliance of Health and Pollution.

On March 25, the first day of the lockdown, the average PM 2.5 levels decreased by 22% and nitrogen dioxide which comes from burning fossil fuels dropped by 15%, according to air pollution data analyzed by the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air.

A recent analysis by the Delhi Pollution Control Board found that the quality of the Yamuna River flowing along New Delhi has also improved during the lockdown. The report cited a decrease in runoffs from 28 industrial clusters and less trash.

India has reported nearly 20,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and over 600 deaths.

The stringent lockdown measures that are set to be lifted on May 3 also have had an effect on India’s rivers.

Tags: coronavirus lockdown, delhi pollution control board