Air Quality In Bhubaneswar Improves Following COVID-19 Lockdown

Bhubaneswar: The COVID-19 lockdown has come as a boon for Bhubaneswar denizens as the ambient air quality index (AQI) in the city has witnessed a substantial improvement.

The display board put by the Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) in the city, showed that the AQI in some areas like Master Canteen, Ashok Nagar, Jayadev Vihar, Kharavela Nagar, Airport Road, Kalinga Nagar, Saheed Nagar, Khandagiri, Aragul and Pokhariput was 96, which is satisfactory, on Sunday.

The AQI hovered above the moderate level (51-100) prior to the state government’s lockdown order on March 22.

Besides, the atmospheric particulate matter (pm2.5) level in the state capital has also remained below the danger level.

According to Debanand Behera, an environment expert, about one crore vehicles ply on Odisha roads every day. Of these, 90 per cent ply in Bhubaneswar and other major cities and towns. While these vehicles contribute to acute air pollution, industrial establishments are also responsible for air and water pollution, he said.

“Following the lockdown, the intensity of pollution has drastically come down. It will further improve during the next 14-day lockdown period,” he pointed out.

General secretary of Odisha Environment Society, Jaya Krushna Panigrahi said that the lockdown in Odisha is a boon for the people. “It is a good sign that the environment in the Odisha capital is improving each day during the lockdown,” he noted.

Interestingly, over 90 cities, including Delhi, recorded minimal air pollution in the last few days following the nationwide lockdown from March 24 midnight to contain the spread of coronavirus.

According to the Centre-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), there has been a drop in PM2.5 (fine particulate pollutant) by 30 per cent in Delhi and by 15 percent in Ahmedabad and Pune, respectively.

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