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‘Stay at home’ clears the air as AQI better in many cities

NEW DELHI: People in 85 major cities across India were able to breathe easy during Janata Curfew and national-wide lockdown as most of the vehicles remained off road and non-essential industrial units were closed, the Central Pollution Control Board said in a report.

The CPCB report assessed quality of air between March 16 and March 29. It found that most of the million plus population cities showed improvement in air quality levels post Janata curfew on March 22. “Indo Gangetic cities showed significant improvement in AQI values with levels moving from higher to lower end of category and 17 cities moving in ‘Satisfactory’ category and 07 cities in ‘Good’ category. The AQI value in coastal areas slightly improved though not as significantly as noted for Indo Gangetic plains,” said the report. On the day of curfew, Chennai and Mumbai remained in ‘Satisfactory’ category. A slight increase in AQI value was noted in Chennai on the next day, possibly due to local contribution.

The positive impact on air quality was not observed significantly in industrial cities. High AQI value was noted in Vapi, Ratlam, Satna, Singrauli and Chandrapur seemingly due to emissions from industrial areas.  Overall, Janata Curfew resulted in general improvement in air quality.

“During start of pre lockdown period on March 16, 55 cities were under ‘Good’ & ‘Satisfactory’ AQI categories. As days progressed, the number of cities under these  categories started to decrease with more moving in ‘Moderate’ category. The pattern continued till March 21, The situation changed on March 22. On the day of Janata Curfew, 67 cities recorded ‘Good’ & ‘Satisfactory’ AQI values,” said the analysis.
The trend has continued, with increasing number of cities recording ‘Good’ AQI value.

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