The knock down effect: The lockdown enforced across India has seen drastic improvements in air quality in practically every Indian cities, including some of the world's most polluted | Photo: NASA/EU Copernicus

Satellite images show much cleaner air over India and the world during Coronavirus lockdowns

While Indian cities figure among the list of the most polluted cities in the world due to their poor air quality, the ongoing nationwide lockdown has seen many cities record massive improvements in air quality. European Space Agency (ESA) images have shown nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels drop sharply across the country as the impact of the lockdowns around the world were caught on satellite. Nitrogen dioxide, a pollutant emitted generally by motor vehicles, dropped sharply during the lockdown period in parts of China, and then gradually rose again in the past few days when the restrictions were eased.

In Delhi, as vehicles went off road, PM2.5 plummeted by nearly four times. HT reported that Kanpur’s air quality index (AQI) was a moderate category at 193 last Friday. It improved to 62 to reach the satisfactory category on Monday. The AQI of Lucknow, which was 235 on Friday, improved to 118 (moderate) on Sunday. Kolkata, which had an AQI of 123 (moderate), fell to 76 (satisfactory). Mumbai AQI was 82 on Friday, which fell further to 54 on Sunday.

COVID19: Cities with high levels of air pollution at greater risk

Residents of cities with high levels air pollution will be more vulnerable to impacts of novel coronavirus disease, air pollution experts have warned, adding that cities such as Kolkata must avert the third stage of community infection. Experts said Kolkata’s average exposure level was the highest in the country, because of the city’s compactness. Consider this: Kolkata and its surrounding areas, which have recorded 9 cases so far, also witnessed very high air pollution levels for more than two decades. During last winter, the city also recorded a poorer air quality Delhi for many days. If the city begins community transmission, it will be very difficult to curb the disease, experts said. Lung ailments like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) were found in old patients who were infected by the virus, reports suggest. Doctors said the immunity of those living in cities with high air pollution is compromised by toxic air, making residents prone to respiratory diseases.

Covid19: Car makers want top court to extend deadline for sale of BS IV cars

Car dealers have asked the Supreme Court to extend the deadline to allow them to sell the older BS IV fuel compatible cars. According to experts, March will likely be the worst ever for Indian automakers. The industry has plummeted to its lowest in about four years. Sales in the last month of FY20 are expected to have dropped 40-80% across segments in a drop that’s been deepened by coronavirus lockdown. Car makers call it a dark hole with no visibility of how to plan for the next month. Sale of two-wheelers has dropped by over 45% while trucks have taken the biggest hit with dispatches at 25,000-30,000 units, down by over 70%.

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