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With social distancing and janata curfew, cities observe cleaner skies

While Mumbai’s air quality index (AQI) stood at 63 on Sunday –– the lowest reading for 2020 –– New Delhi came in at 159, Pune at 58, and Ahmedabad at 106.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Mar 23, 2020, 11.07 AM IST
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“[There is] considerable reduction in NOx by around 45% in Pune, around 50% in Ahmedabad, and around 45% in Mumbai, compared to 2018 and 2019,” SAFAR has stated.
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NEW DELHI: The Prime minister’s ‘janata curfew’ has literally “cleared the air” across New Delhi and Mumbai on Sunday with the System of Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) stating that there has been a decline in pollutants in these cities.

While Mumbai’s air quality index (AQI) stood at 63 on Sunday –– the lowest reading for 2020 –– New Delhi came in at 159, Pune at 58, and Ahmedabad at 106.

The SAFAR Index, at present, shows the official AQI numbers for these cities, although more cities are expected to come under its ambit soon.

A factor which contributed to the capital’s better air quality is the strong speed of wind on the ground surface. This will also bring the city some rainfall over the coming days, said the India Meteorological Department (IMD).

Across the NCR region on Sunday, Gurugram recorded a ‘poor’ rating and an AQI at 203, while Noida held the same rating and an AQI of 200. All other regions maintained a ‘moderate’ rating. This air quality is expected to continue over the next few days, according to the SAFAR bulletin.

Compared to the previous two years, SAFAR also stated that it had noticed a considerable reduction in NOx and PM2.5 levels, which are the two most polluting emissions from burning of fossil fuels. However, this reduction has not been observed in the capital, it said.

“[There is] considerable reduction in NOx by around 45% in Pune, around 50% in Ahmedabad, and around 45% in Mumbai, compared to 2018 and 2019,” SAFAR has stated.

“In Delhi, (there has been) no significant change in NOx after last week’s dip, but PM2.5 shows a declining tendency,” it added.

Tackling air pollution has been a major topic of development under the present government. In the Union budget, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had outlined Rs 4,400 crore towards ensuring clean air. It also started the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), which aimed at improving air quality by 20-30% by 2024. It also announced that all vehicle need to compulsorily adopt the BS-VI model from April 1, this year.

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