India records lowest ever one-day traffic pollution levels

Posted on 1 April 2020

India’s government instated a national curfew on Sunday 22 March. As a result, the lowest ever average level of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution for spring was recorded.

According to the Centre for Research and Clean Air, other toxic pollutants, PM2.5 and PM10 also declined. PM2.5 and PM10 are pollutants that have a much longer atmospheric lifetime. Cars are a small contributing factor to their levels.


Image: Centre for Research and Clean Air


In a statement, Lauri Myllyvirta and Sunil Dahiya from the Centre for Research and Clean Air said: ‘While air pollution levels in individual cities can vary a lot depending on weather conditions, national-average levels across a landmass of thousands of kilometres are less affected by the vagaries of winds and rains. The national average levels do drop lower in the summer, when average wind speeds are higher and there is more atmospheric mixing, but last Sunday’s reading is the lowest seasonally-adjusted level on record.’

Many countries around the world are experiencing reduced air pollution levels as a result of implementing measures to combat COVID-19.

Using data garnered by the Copernicus Sentinel-5P satellite, the European Space Agency (ESA) was able to determine that, within the first two months of 2020, there had been a sharp drop in emissions of nitrogen dioxide over Italy.

Image: European Space Agency


Image: European Space Agency


Image: European Space Agency


Image: European Space Agency


COVID-19 is a pandemic that has caused widespread suffering and loss of life. The drop in air pollution is an unintended, albeit welcome, result of the measures in place to flatten the curve.


Image: Twitter/@Sword_wrap

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