Does air pollution upsurge in megacities after Covid-19 lockdown? A spatial approach.Environ Res. 2021 06; 197:111052.ER
The current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has a high spreading and fatality rate. To control the rapid spreading of the COVID-19 virus, the government of India imposed lockdown policies, which creates a unique opportunity to analyze the impact of lockdown on air quality in the two most populous cities of India, i.e., Delhi and Mumbai. To do this, the study employed a spatial approach to examine the concentration of seven criteria pollutants, i.e., PM2.5, PM10, NH3, CO, NO2, O3, and SO2, before, during, and after a lockdown in Delhi and Mumbai. Overall, around 42%, 50%, 21%, 37%, 53%, and 41% declines in PM2.5, PM10, NH3, CO, NO2, and SO2 were observed during the lockdown period as compared to previous years. On the other hand, a 2% increase in O3 concentration was observed. However, the study analyzed the National Air Quality Index (NAQI) for Delhi and Mumbai and found that lockdown does not improve the air quality in the long term period. Our key findings provide essential information to the cities' administration to develop rules and regulations to enhance air quality.