Diurnal and temporal changes in air pollution during COVID-19 strict lockdown over different regions of India.Environ Pollut. 2020 Nov; 266(Pt 3):115368.EP
Lockdown measures to contain COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a considerable change in air pollution worldwide. We estimate the temporal and diurnal changes of the six criteria air pollutants, including particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10) and gaseous pollutants (NO2, O3, CO, and SO2) during lockdown (25th March - 3rd May 2020) across regions of India using the observations from 134 real-time monitoring sites of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). Significant reduction in PM2.5, PM10, NO2, and CO has been found in all the regions during the lockdown. SO2 showed mixed behavior, with a slight increase at some sites but a comparatively significant decrease at other locations. O3 also showed a mixed variation with a mild increase in IGP and a decrease in the South. The absolute decrease in PM2.5, PM10, and NO2 was observed during peak morning traffic hours (08-10 Hrs) and late evening (20-24 Hrs), but the percentage reduction is almost constant throughout the day. A significant decrease in day-time O3 has been found over Indo Gangetic plain (IGP) and central India, whereas night-time O3 has increased over IGP due to less O3 loss. The most significant reduction (∼40-60%) was found in PM2.5 and PM10. The highest decrease in PM was found for the north-west and IGP followed by South and central regions. A considerable reduction (∼30-70%) in NO2 was found except for a few sites in the central region. A similar pattern was observed for CO having a ∼20-40% reduction. The reduction observed for PM2.5, PM10, NO2, and enhancement in O3 was proportional to the population density. Delhi's air quality has improved with a significant reduction in primary pollutants, however, an increase in O3 was observed. The changes reported during the lockdown are combined effect of changes in the emissions, meteorology, and atmospheric chemistry that requires detailed investigations.