A team of Amity Center for Air Pollution Control (ACAPC) headed by Prof PCS Devara and Dr Sanjeev Agrawal, has carried out a detailed study of the impact of nationwide Janta Curfew on 22nd March 2020 in Air Qaulity in Delhi and CNR.
As per the study it has been found that there has been a drastic reduction of up to 50% in the Air Quality Parameters such as PM10, PM2.5, PM1 and Gaseous particles of NO2, SO2 CO & OZONE as well as in Volatile Organic Compound VOC/BTX such as Benzene, Toulene, Xylene and NH3. The Amity AXAPC team looked at 24 hourly averages of ambient Air Quality from the averaged quality monitors from CPCB monitoring stations in and around Delhi & NCR.
It was revealed that on 22/03/2020 of PM10, PM2.5, NO2, SO2 CO, OZONE, had measured 98, 62, 23, 13, 08, 40 µg/m3 (Except CO-mg/m3) respectively and VOC/BTX – Benzene, Toulene, Xylene and NH3 measured 10, 18, 25 and 11 µg/m3 respectively almost 50% that of the levels on 21st March.. Amity University Haryana AUH has a highly sophisticated Air Quality Monitoring Station at its campus at Pachgaon, Manesar that itself looks at the Air Pollution parameters at the doorsteps of the millennium city of Gurugram. AUH further has the NASA Aeronet Monitor that looks at ultrafine aerosol particles and their concentration in air. These particles can travel great distances, even across continent weather currents.
“It is important to keep the ambient Air Quality in healthy conditions during the Coronavirus crisis as the respiratory diseases and heart strokes are greatly impacted by degraded Air Quality” says Prof PB Sharma, Vice Chancellor, Amity University Haryana. The safe limit for Air Quality as per the WHO is to keep the particulate matter PM2.5 below 20mg/m3 while India during most of time of the year records PM 2.5 higher than 100mg/m3 which is 5 times higher than the global safe limit.
The nationwide Janta Curfew undoubtedly brought the particulate matter such as PM2.5 to 62 mg/m3. It may be mentioned that Air Pollution has been found to harm human being from head to toe. The ultrafine particles of particulate matter and Volatile organic Compounds such of Benzene and ammonia pass through the lungs and are carried into the bloodstream to expose virtually to all cells in the body.
As per WHO report an estimated 7 million deaths worldwide are associated with Air Pollution and this cause of mortality due to Air Pollution accounts for 11.6% of all global deaths. WHO further recognizes that Air Pollution is a critical risk factor for non-communicable diseases (NCDs), causing an estimated one quarter (24%) of all adult deaths from heart disease, 25% from stroke, 43% from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and 29% from lung cancer.