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Temporary reduction in fine particulate matter due to ‘anthropogenic emissions switch-off’ during COVID-19 lockdown in Indian cities

Kumar, Prashant, Hama, Sarkawt, Omidvarborna, Hamid, Sharma, Ashish, Sahani, Jeetendra, Abhijith, K.V, Debele, Sisay E., Zavala-Reyes, Juan C., Barwise, Yendle and Tiwari, Arvind (2020) Temporary reduction in fine particulate matter due to ‘anthropogenic emissions switch-off’ during COVID-19 lockdown in Indian cities Sustainable Cities and Society, 102382.

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The COVID-19 pandemic elicited a global response to limit associated mortality, with social distancing and lockdowns being imposed. In India, human activities were restricted from late March 2020. This ‘anthropogenic emissions switch-off’ presented an opportunity to investigate impacts of COVID-19 mitigation measures on ambient air quality in five Indian cities (Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Mumbai), using in-situ measurements from 2015 to 2020. For each year, we isolated, analysed and compared fine particulate matter (PM2.5) concentration data from 25 March to 11 May, to elucidate the effects of the lockdown. Like other global cities, we observed substantial reductions in PM2.5 concentrations, from 19 to 43% (Chennai), 41–53 % (Delhi), 26–54 % (Hyderabad), 24–36 % (Kolkata), and 10–39 % (Mumbai). Generally, cities with larger traffic volumes showed greater reductions. Aerosol loading decreased by 29 % (Chennai), 11 % (Delhi), 4% (Kolkata), and 1% (Mumbai) against 2019 data. Health and related economic impact assessments indicated 630 prevented premature deaths during lockdown across all five cities, valued at 0.69 billion USD. Improvements in air quality may be considered a temporary lockdown benefit as revitalising the economy could reverse this trend. Regulatory bodies must closely monitor air quality levels, which currently offer a baseline for future mitigation plans.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences > Civil and Environmental Engineering
Authors :
Abhijith, K.V
Debele, Sisay E.
Zavala-Reyes, Juan C.
Date : 13 July 2020
Funders : UK-India NERC-MOES Programme on Atmospheric Pollution and Human Health in an Indian Megacity, EPSRC, University of Surrey’s Research England, Global Challenge Research Fund (GCRF)
DOI : 10.1016/j.scs.2020.102382
Grant Title : Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
Copyright Disclaimer : © 2020 Published by Elsevier.
Projects : NERC funded project, ASAP-Delhi (An Integrated Study of Air Pollutant Sources in the Delhi National Capital Region, INHALE
Uncontrolled Keywords : Coronavirus pandemic; SARS-CoV-2 Virus; Air pollution; Health and economic impacts; PM2.5 concentration; Emission switch-off;
Additional Information : Embargo OK Metadata Pending
Depositing User : James Marshall
Date Deposited : 14 Jul 2020 13:33
Last Modified : 14 Jul 2020 13:33

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