As predicted, post lockdown air condition is observed worsening in major cities of India. Almost a month ago, satellite images showed a drastic fall in pollution in many cities in India. There was a fall in greenhouse gases like nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide due to the industries and factories being shut down. A major change in environmental conditions was also owed to private and public vehicles being out of use. Transportation, including airlines and train services, were curbed.

Copernicus Sentinel 5P, a satellite produced data which were mapped. The satellite maps showed a fall in nitrous oxide in India within 24th March and 20th April. The pollution which causes respiratory issues and health degradation was at least reduced by 40-50% during lock-down. Delhi, the most polluted city of India recorded the least pollution in 5 years during this lock-down. The entire northern India which is known for its poor quality of air was tested to have the cleanest air in the last 20 years. Pictures were uploaded by people who could see the difference by their own eyes. Mountains miles away were visible to plain eyes, like never before.

Claus Zehner, ESA’s Copernicus Sentinel-5P mission manager said, “What is interesting in these new maps are the high values of nitrogen dioxide concentrations over northeast India. Our analysis shows that these clusters are directly linked with the locations of the ongoing coal-based power plants. The largest power station in India, the Vindhyachal Super Thermal Power Station, shows a reduction of only around 15% compared to the same time last year.” PM 2.5 levels across Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore, and Hyderabad dropped by 40- 80% during the lockdown, according to the Center for Science and Environment. But the precious days of fresh clear air in behind us with lockdown 4.0 being in motion in India.

Lockdown 4.0 allows restarting of industries and airlines and train services being partially allowed. All this has catered to the rise in pollution in the major cities of India. In the above-mentioned cities, there has been recorded a two to six times rise in PM 2.5 levels during the lockdown 4.0.

Throughout India, the only good outcome of the lockdown due to pandemic was nature reclaiming its space. Water bodies including the dirtiest river of India became drastically cleaner due to industries being shut down. Air improved its quality with a reduction in the production of greenhouse gases. Wild animals, fishes, and oppressed creatures enjoyed mindless freedom in the environment due to the lack of humans interference everywhere.

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