By Mayank Aggarwal
As India completes almost a month of a government-mandated lockdown to control the spread of the coronavirus, cities with poor air quality have been reporting cleaner air and lower pollution – an expected outcome of the nationwide closure. With fewer vehicles on the road, reduction in consumption of petroleum products and reduction in power demand from the commercial and industrial sector, around 78 percent cities where air quality is recorded have reported “good and satisfactory” levels during the lockdown period, compared to 44 percent cities with these levels of air quality in the pre-lockdown phase.
On April 21, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) also released an image, according to which its satellite sensors observed aerosol levels at a 20-year low for this time of year in northern India after just a week of reduced human activities.
According to a data tracker developed by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago, India’s electricity consumption has fallen by 18.72 percent (till April 3, 2020) due to the lockdown. Similarly, as per the data compiled by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA), an independent research organisation working on clean air and clean energy, there has been a clear reduction of consumption of petroleum products and coal by industries in regions within and around cities.