Given the rapidly increasing number of coronavirus cases in the state, the Punjab government clamped a state-wide curfew. Soon after, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also announced the 21-day lockdown in the country starting 25th March.
Since strict measures are being taken against violators, people have decided to not venture out unless an emergency. And its impact can be seen in the improving air quality across the country. After, Mumbai and Delhi, the air quality in Punjab has shown significant improvement, reports The Indian Express. The state that had ‘very poor’ air quality last year, now has many cities in the ‘green zone’.
According to Sandeep Behl, senior environmental engineer, Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB):
“No industrial activity and no vehicular traffic are factors that have contributed a lot in improving the air quality.”
G O O D D A Y pic.twitter.com/5PKf53wqlv
— Glorious Punjabis Globally (@GloriousPunjab1) March 26, 2020
According to data received from the central pollution control board, Ludhiana was the cleanest city of India on March 23 with air quality index (AQI) of 35. On March 24, it was 39. And on March 25, it was again the cleanest city in India with AQI of 27. And yesterday, with an AQI of 34, both Ludhiana and Jalandhar were the third cleanest cities of India after Mandideep and Narnaul (in MP and Haryana respectively), said reports.
Amritsar recorded an AQI of 67 on March 26 compared to 124 on March 20 whereas Chandigarh had an AQI of 39 on March 26 compared to 108 on March 20.
Health experts told TOI that improved air quality will have a positive impact on the health of the people, especially those with respiratory and heart diseases. AQI between 0-50 and has minimal impact on the environment. Apart from clean air, the locals could see more birds in the area.
AQI of National Capital Delhi was as low as 88 on March 26. Air quality in Agra was also exceptionally good, breaking its five-year record in the month of March post the lockdown.
The impact of the lockdown will only be ascertained when it is lifted on 14th April, as announced by the PM. Till then all we can do is stay at home, take care of our health and hygiene and pray for the well-being of all those helping us to eradicate the pandemic by risking their lives.