The world is lock down and this has been unexpected nightmare for us. During this pandemic time, it is making us more anxious to hear about the list of death and infected people all around us. Also, we are forced to be trapped inside the four walls to be protected of the virus which is unseen and never known before.
This virus and its attack on human life have also weaken other different branches that we are connected to. It has also affect on our economy as this pandemic is forcing us to shut down industrial activity and hence air pollution is decreasing.
The impacts of Covid virus are serious, but not all the impacts are serious, if we look wisely.
If we compare towards the air condition of Nepal before pandemic and while pandemic then, there are differences in pollution level which we never expect in short period of time.
Nepal’s air quality ranked at 177th position out of 180 countries as shown by Environmental Performance Index (EPI) report of 2016. Also, according to report published by World Health Organization, the maximum status of fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5) in urban areas of Nepal was noted to be 140𝜇g/m3 which is 10 times higher than the desirable value.
In short period of time, Air quality has surprisingly improve in major polluted cities including Kathmandu Valley and in the cities of our neighboring countries India and China.
The study has found that air quality improved in the most polluted cities such as Bangalore, Beijing, Bangkok, Delhi and Nanjing including major trade centers such as New York, London, Paris, Seoul, Sydney and Tokyo.
Our neighboring country, India is known to be most polluted country in the world with 21 out of 30 world’s most polluted cities. Surprisingly, the lockdown in India has helped in improving the air of 103 cities.
One of the largest drops in air pollution level is seen in our next neighboring country China, in the city of Wuhan, which was strictly put under lockdown in late January. According to Nasa, there is decrease in nitrogen dioxide level by 10-30% than normal as the transportation and industrial activities are stopped for a while due to pandemic.
Also, Readings from the European Space Agency’s satellite have shown decrease in levels of nitrogen dioxide over cities and industrial clusters in Asia and Europe in comparison to the same period last year.
Another Study reveled that coronavirus and lockdown has led to fewer deaths of people from pollution in UK and in Europe. Otherwise, the death rate was high in European countries of pollution which weaken the heart and respiratory system. As a result, the reduction in pollution has helped in alleviating pressure on health system related to air borne diseases in these countries.
The reduction in air pollution is a good news to the world. However, the sad part of it is, air pollution is expected to be temporary as once the situation is normal , we will continue to choose same polluted and unsustainable life style. So, it is time for us to make wise choices and decisions today so that our future pandemics don’t win this pandemic.
Saud, B. (2018). The Threat of Ambient Air Pollution in Kathmandu , Nepal The Threat of Ambient Air Pollution in Kathmandu , Nepal. (July). https://doi.org/10.1155/2018/1504591
By- Alisha Maharjan