As the entire country is on lock down amid the coronavirus pandemic, snow-capped mountains of the Dhauladhar range of the Himalayas is now a visible backdrop for many in India. The massive drop in air pollution from the shutdown of factories, public transportation, places of worship and markets along with strict measures of self-quarantine have drastically improved the air quality.
Both visibility and air quality have greatly improved in India this past month since the nationwide lock down was put in effect on March 24 to flatten the curve of the coronavirus. While India is home to 14 of the top 20 cities with the poorest air quality, many of those cities—Delhi being one—saw their Air Quality Index change to “good” in recent weeks.
According to India’s Central Pollution Control Board, the result of “stringent travel restrictions and shutting down of non essential activities including those of air polluting sectors, air quality improvement has been noted in many towns and cities across the nation.” The air quality index improved by an average of 33 percent across India from March 16 through the 27, the India Today Data Intelligence Unit reported.
“The nationwide Janta Curfew on March 22, 2020 and lock down since March 24, 2020, have resulted in significant improvement in air quality in the country, as revealed by data analysis and comparison of data for time before enforcement of restrictions.”—Central Pollution Control Board
Many Indian residents of Jalandhar and neighboring Phagwara claim the Himalayas, which are approximately 200 kilometres or 125 miles north of Jalandhar, haven’t been clearly visible in “decades.”
Never seen Dhauladar range from my home rooftop in Jalandhar..never could imagine that’s possible..clear indication of the impact the pollution has done by us to Mother Earth 🌍.. this is the view pic.twitter.com/laRzP8QsZ9— Harbhajan Turbanator (@harbhajan_singh) April 3, 2020
India is just one country to see an improvement of air quality because of national shelter in place orders; China and Los Angeles have also had big drops in nitrogen dioxide concentrations in the air, True Activist reported.
“We can see the snow-covered mountains clearly from our roofs,” Singh Seechewal, anti-pollution activist in India, said. “And not just that, stars are visible at night. I have never seen anything like this in recent times. Not just normal traffic is off the roads, but most industry is also shut down. This has helped bring the pollution level to unbelievably low levels.”