Positive Impact of Corona Virus Lock-down
I would like to write something that you must have been witness around you during this lock down. How the sky has turned blue? How the air became cleaner? When you look up at the night sky, you can actually see the stars. The air has become so clear that the Himalayan peaks are visible from Jalandhar in Punjab, situated 140 kms away. The residents of Jalandhar say that for the first time in 20-30 years, the air has become so clean that they are able to see the Himalayan peaks from the Jalandhar. Such news reports are pouring in from worldwide. The air has become cleaner, the water has become clearer, and the pollution levels have fallen. So this is what I would like to analyze and write.
What is the impact of corona Virus and lock down on the environment?
Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is a toxic gas that is emitted from the engines of cars, buses, trucks and factories. The world Health Organization states that, if this gas is more in concentration than 200 micro grams per cubic meter then it can cause an enormous inflammation in your breathing pipe which can lead to problems like asthma. Now, due to this lock down, the number of cars plying the roads becomes less, factories have shut down and hence, in the cities all over the world the concentration of nitrogen dioxide in the air has fallen drastically.
Look at the levels in the months of January and then look at how much it has fallen in February. Have you look at the first example in china
Exactly the same thing was witnessed in the cities of Europe- in Spain, in UK, in Italy.
Take the example of Italy- Notice how much of NO2 was present in Italy in March 2019 and how much it got reduced in March 2020.
Exactly the same thing was witnessed in India cities too. Look at – Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad You can observe how the NO2 concentrations have fallen in comparison to 2019 and if you want to look at the comparison of the past one month, you can notice how gradually, from 17th February until 29th March how concentrations began to decline.
Particulate matter 2.5 or PM 2.5
It is one of the most harmful forms of air pollution. It is included in the category of group 1 carcinogen and it is so small that it can travel from your blood stream which will not only cause respiratory problems but also heart attack and can also cause premature deaths. It is so deadly that World Health Organization has estimated that every year, worldwide more than 4 million people are killed due to PM 2.5 caused-heart diseases, strokes, lung cancer, chronic lung diseases and respiratory infections. Consider it more than 4 million people die because of this. Now, due to lock down, even the PM 2.5 levels have reduced worldwide. This is the reason why, these days, you are able to view the clear blue sky in different cities across the country and are able to see stars at night. A question might arise in your mind here that if PM 2.5 levels have reduced so drastically under the lock down, then the number of people dying of air pollution would also have become less. The lives of people must be getting saved due to the fall in air pollution. A scientist from Stanford University has done a research regarding this. He collected the data of the PM 2.5 levels in the Chinese cities and compared it to the mortality rates and observed what impacts would falling PM 2.5 levels would have on the mortality rates and this research concluded that the falling levels of pollution in China in just this one month, more than 77,000 lives have been saved due to the decrease in air pollution.
Not only the air, but the water of our rivers is also becoming clearer. Raghav Chadda, the Delhi Jal Board vice-chairman says that due to the stoppage of the industrial waste has definitely caused a positive impact on the water quality of the Yamuna River. Not only Yamuna but also the Ganga River Dr. P.K. Mishra, an IIT Professor in BHU states that a 40-50% improvement has been seen in the water quality of the Ganga.
All of us are aware that carbon dioxide emissions are responsible for climate change. If you look at the data of where the worldwide carbon dioxide emissions are emitted from, then you will notice that the transportation sector has a huge contribution in it and obviously, during lock down there has been a decline in all of it-lesser number of cars are plying lesser number of planes are flying and so, obviously there is a massive decline in carbon dioxide emissions.
Written By: Minhaj Nezami