Coronavirus | Air is cleaner with COVID-19 lockdown

KSPCB figures between Saturday and Monday show weekday had lower pollution levels than weekend

Many private firms have asked employees to work from home, schools and colleges have suspended classes, and and malls and pubs are closed. This partial lockdown in a usually bustling city to contain the spread of COVID-19 appears to have had one positive impact — lower levels of air pollution.

Data collated by the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) between Saturday and Monday showed that ironically, the weekday had lower pollution levels than the weekend.

According to the Air Quality Index (AQI) compiled by the KSPCB, six out of seven monitoring stations posted ‘satisfactory’ index values, as well as lower pollution levels on Monday, when pollution levels usually see a spike.

For example, the AQI at the Silk Board monitoring station went from 76 on Saturday, to 70 on Sunday and 66 on Monday. Silk Board is notorious for its traffic snarls.

The AQI at NIMHANS was 76, 91 and 67 on Saturday, Sunday and Monday respectively. The other stations that recorded a downward trend in air pollution were the Veterinary College Hebbal, Basaveshwaranagara, Jayanagar 5th block and Mysuru Road.

KSPCB officials said the three-day data is a window to the impact that vehicular emissions have on air. “Usually, we see that air pollution goes up on Mondays when people are back to work or to school and college. Now that many of these establishments are closed, and the IT industry and others have asked their employees have been asked to work from home, vehicular emissions have reduced and this is having a direct impact on the pollution levels,” said an official.

City Railway Station

On the other hand, the City Railway Station station saw no impact of the closure of establishments and reduction in traffic. On the contrary, the busy junction saw the AQI go up from 86 to 102 to 124. This was the only station that recorded ‘moderate’ levels.

According to the AQI, index value between 0 and 50 is deemed good with minimal impact on health, 51 to 100 is satisfactory with health implications being minor breathing discomfort to sensitive people, 101 to 200 is considered moderate, and the possible health impact likely to cause breathing discomfort to people with lung diseases and discomfort to people with heart disease, as well as affect children and older adults.

AQI of 201 to 300 is considered poor (may cause breathing discomfort to people on prolonged exposure and discomfort to people with heart disease), 301 to 400 very poor (may cause respiratory illness to people on prolonged exposure. Effect may be more pronounced in people with lung and heart diseases), and more than 401 is categorised as severe (may cause respiratory effects even to healthy people and serious health effect to people with lung/ heart diseases).

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Printable version | Aug 5, 2020 2:05:49 AM |

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