India: Pollution controlled in lockdown saved 630 lives from premature deaths says survey

India: Pollution controlled in lockdown saved 630 lives from premature deaths says survey
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Highlights

The Covid-19 lockdown led a reduction in air pollution levels across five Indian cities in India including Delhi and Mumbai.

New Delhi: The Covid-19 lockdown led a reduction in air pollution levels across five Indian cities in India including Delhi and Mumbai. According to a study, it had prevented nearly about 630 premature deaths and saved USD 690 million in health costs in the country.

Scientists from different Universities reviewed the levels of harmful fine particulate matter (PM2.5) from vehicles and other sources in five Indian cities Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Hyderabad since the beginning of the lockdown. The study published in the journal sustainable cities and society, compared these lockdown PM2.5 figures from 25 March up until 11 May with those from similar periods of the preceding five years and found that the measure reduced pollution levels in all these places.

According to the scientists, during this period, the levels of these harmful air pollutants were reduced by 10% in Mumbai, and by up to 54% in Delhi.

The scientists noted in the study that the percentage reduction for the other cities ranged from 24% to 32%, which were slightly smaller than the measured values for Delhi and Mumbai.

Speaking on this, co-author of the study from the University of Surrey Prashanth Kumar said, "While the reduction in PM2.5 pollution may not be surprising, the size of the reduction should make us all take notice of the impact we have been having on the planet." He added, "This is an opportunity for us all to discuss and debate what the new normal should look like particularly when it comes to the quality of the air we breathe."

According to the researchers, the present lockdown situation offers observational opportunities regarding potential control systems and regulations for improved urban air quality.

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