Delhi breathes clean air again as pollution levels come down amid COVID-19 lockdown

New Delhi: As Delhi is on the road to unlock, one benefit that the COVID-19 induced lockdown has caused was lowering the levels of pollution in the national capital. 

As per Air Quality Index India report, Delhi started seeing a decline in AQI immediately after the first few days of the lockdown was implemented during the second wave. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal first announced the lockdown on April 17. 

As vehicular movement reduced, shops were closed, the average Particulate Matter 2.5 (PM2.5) for May 2021 was recorded at around at 55-56 ug/m3. 

Anumita Roy Chowdhary, Executive Director, Research and Advocacy with Center for Science and Environment (CSE) told India Today, “It was a much-needed relief for the Delhi air in the form of lockdown. The first three months of 2021 were more polluted compared to the first three months of previous three years. The average level of PM2.5 concentration was 204 ug/m3 in January, 159 ug/m3 in February, 100 ug/m3 in March, but it came down significantly to 89 ug/m3 in April and 55 ug/m3 in the month of May.”

Due to the nationwide lockdown last year, the air quality had improved to the ‘good’ category in Delhi. When the overall average of pollution levels for the first five months from January to May is compared, the air in 2020 was almost 33 per cent cleaner than in 2019 and 2021, India Today report added. 

On June 3, 2021, Delhi’s air quality was in the ‘moderate’ category. As per data on the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) the hourly air quality index (AQI) at 7.05 pm stood at 162.

An AQI between zero and 50 is considered “good”, 51 and 100 “satisfactory”, 101 and 200 “moderate”, 201 and 300 “poor”, 301 and 400 “very poor”, and 401 and 500 “severe”. 

(With inputs from agency)

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