Source: Twitter Kwahar S Khawaha

Himalayas become visible again thanks to plummeting pollution caused by coronavirus lockdown

The air quality in India has improved enormously due to the lockdown in the country, which has now been going on for two weeks. Now that a large part of the industry has come to a halt and less cars are on the road, the air is much cleaner.

Residents in northern India can see the Himalayas again for the first time in decades.

Normally, large parts of India have to contend with a lot of smog. This hinders the view of the Himalayan mountains in the northern state of Punjab. But now that the smog has disappeared, people can see the peaks of the mountain after years. On social media, people post photos of the view from their homes. For young Indians in particular, it is the first time in their lives that they can see the Himalayas from their homes.


Kashmir mountains. Source: Twitter Abbu Pandit

Good air quality

Measurements have shown that the area has had good air quality since lockdown began. In the same period last year, there was not a single day of good air quality. The air in the capital Delhi is also considerably cleaner. Air pollution is estimated to have decreased by 44 percent. Air pollution is a major problem in this Asian country. No less than 21 of the 30 most polluted urban areas in the world are located in India.


Kashmir Source: Twitter TJ Singh
Dhauladhar range Source: Twitter Gulshan Patiyal


Normally the air quality in many parts of India is sub-standard and smog is present. It now seems to have temporarily cleared up because industry has largely ground to a halt and people hardly move around. As a result, many Indians marvel at the unique view.


Punjab Source: Twitter Charanjit Singh
Gujrat Source: Twitter Zohaib Amjad
Punjab Source: Twitter Charanjit Singh
Guwahati Source: Twitter Sonu Ansari

Cleaner air through lockdowns in European cities

Air pollution in Europe has fallen sharply, especially in large cities where lockdowns are in force. Because there is less traffic as a result of measures taken against the corona crisis, concentrations of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) have been halved in some places. The effect of cleaner air on corona patients is not known. 

The European Environment Agency reports that based on measurements at 3000 locations across Europe. In Barcelona, Madrid and Lisbon, decreases of between 40 and 55 percent were recorded last week. 
Half less nitrogen dioxide in the air in Bergamo.
The measured amount of nitrogen dioxide in Milan in the past four weeks was a quarter lower than a year ago and in Rome, it was up to 35 percent. Last week, the severely affected Bergamo region emitted 47 percent less nitrogen dioxide. Exposure to nitrogen dioxide can cause respiratory problems, asthma attacks and an increased risk of infection. It is not clear whether this will worsen the condition of people with the coronavirus, according to the agency in Copenhagen. More research is needed

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