The coronavirus-induced nationwide lockdown has resulted in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bengaluru achieve 95 per cent of their 2024 National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) targets in a short span of 74 days, according to an analysis.
In a bid to improve the air quality, the National Clean Air Programme was proposed in 2019 with an aim to reduce particulate matter, which is too small to be filtered out of the body, by 20-30 per cent by 2024.
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Researchers from Respirer Living Sciences and Carbon Copy analysed the average air quality during the four phases of the national lockdown in the four cities. PM 2.5, PM 10, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, ozone, and benzene were tracked to monitor the implementation of the programme. The entire data was sourced from air quality monitors set up by the state pollution control boards under the aegis of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
According to the study, the restrictions on economic activity between March 25 and June 8 saw pollution levels plummet across the country and offered researchers an opportunity to track baseline pollution levels.
The drastic drop in pollution levels during the lockdown teaches lessons in India’s air pollution management which need to be incorporated in achieving the country’s clean air targets, said the study.
According to CEO of Respirer Living Sciences, Ronak Sutaria, four cities which were analysed managed to better their NCAP target by around 30 per cent, with Kolkata bettering its target by over 50 per cent.
Experts claim that the lockdown gave them an opportunity to understand background pollution levels, major sources of air pollution — — construction, brick kilns, vehicles, and industrial activity — stalled due to the lockdown. (IANS)