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07-06-2020     3 رجب 1440

COVID-19 Pandemic & it’s Pan-Environmental Impact -1  

June 27, 2020 | Mustafa Majid Sheikh

 

 

With enforcement of global lockdown majority of humans are staying home to save themselves from getting contracted with coronavirus. With less human intervention, the air is getting cleaner allowing people to breath in harmless oxygen, the water is clearer allowing aquatic life a sigh of relief from different pollutants and allowing animals to roam freely in their habitats without threat from poachers or hunters. It seems that COVID-19 pandemic has provided environment with a gift. It has taken billions of people off the streets around the world and reduced national international travel both air & road resulting into many positive environmental changes.
Back in October & November 2019, Delhi was wheezing for breath. Dangerous particulate levels in the air were about 20 times greater than WHO air quality standard. Air quality had reached " horrendous levels". Schools were bolted, flights diverted, and people were advised to wear masks, avoid venturing out unnecessarily and stay indoors. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal while discussing problem of air pollution stated that the city has turned into a "Gas chamber". Five million masks were distributed among schools going student in Delhi which forced officials to declare a public health emergency.
The levels of minute particulate material (known as PM2.5) which badly affects the lungs was 533 micrograms per cubic metre in the city. As per the standards of World Health Organization (WHO) the PM2.5 levels should not be more than 25 micrograms per cubic metre on average in 24 hours. Delhi and 15 other Indian cities feature on a list of the world's 20 most polluted cities. It is estimated that more than a million Indians die every year because of air pollution-related diseases. Industrial smoke, vehicular emissions, burning of trash and crop residue, and construction and road dust are the major contributors.
With lockdown being enforced in major cities around the national and international level, the Emanations of the planet-heating gas CO2 have also fallen sharply. The air quality of the cities in India and world over have improved significantly. Even before the first national lockdown on March 25, the phased lockdowns downs in India were having an impact on environment. In first three weeks of March, the usual nitrogen dioxide levels declined by 40-50% in the cities of Pune Ahmedabad and Mumbai, compared to similar period in 2018 and 2019 as per the data of System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) which works under the banner of India's Ministry of Earth Sciences. SAFAR also reported that that the level of particle pollution dropped by nearly 60% and that the air quality in the national capital on (April 21, 2020) was recorded in the ‘satisfactory’ category with PM2.5 at 35.
The European Space Agency (ESA) satellite imagery observed a substantial drop in NO2 emissions in northern Italy between 1 January and 11 March 2020, corresponding with lockdowns to fight off the deadly coronavirus.
Analysis of air quality in different cities of China carried out for the climate website Carbon Brief, reported a decrease of 25% in energy consumption and emissions in China in just two weeks of lockdown which is expected to lead to an overall reduction of about 1% carbon emissions in China in 2020. In city of Wuhan, epicentre of the lethal virus reported 44% reduction in air pollution levels from February 26 to March 18 corresponding to the same period last year. The concentration of PM2.5 dropped from 63.2 and 43.9 micrograms per cubic meter in February/March 2019 respectively, to 36.8 and 32.9 in the February/March this year.
South Korean capital Seoul recorded a 54% drop in PM2.5 levels from February 26 to March 18 as compared to the pollution levels from the previous year during the same period. In March2019, the South Korean government has declared air pollution a "social disaster."
Los Angeles recorded its longest period of clean air, from 7 to 28 March. PM2.5 concentration levels were dropped down by 31% from the same time last year, and down 51% from the average of the previous four years.
Researchers in New York told the BBC their early results showed carbon monoxide mainly from cars had been reduced by nearly 50% compared with last year.
The UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and the University of Reading reported that London city observed almost 60 per cent reduction in air pollution since the start of the coronavirus lockdown in U.K. Analysis carried out by BBC reported significant drop in air pollution in the most polluted cities including Readings in London, Glasgow, Bristol and Oxford since the announcement of lockdown on 23 March compared to the same period last year.
The AIRPARIF an organisation responsible for monitoring air quality in the Paris, reported that France's stay-at-home guidelines to fight the coronavirus resulted into a 20 to 30 percent fall in overall air pollution levels in Paris.
A study by Ecologists in Action reported that pollution in urbanised areas has fallen by 58% between March 14 and April 30 in cities across Spain.
The improvement in air quality in past few months of the Covid19 lockdown has prevented 11,000 deaths from pollution in the UK and elsewhere in Europe. Strident falls in road traffic and industrial emanations and radiations have resulted in 1.3m fewer days of work absence, 6,000 less children developing asthma, 1,900 emergency cases avoided, room visits and 600 fewer preterm births, according to the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air.
It is pertinent to mention that every year, millions of people die of air pollution. Globally 7 million deaths occur every year due to exposure to air pollution which is much less than the deaths caused by COVID19 this year (World Health Organization (WHO). A recent study by Zhu et al. (2020) suggested that there is a relationship between higher concentrations of air pollutants and higher risk of COVID-19 infection. China topped the 10 countries with the highest mortality 1.2 million due to air pollution(Health Effects Institute, see https://www.healtheffects.org/). As per the data published by the European Environment Agency (EEA), particulate pollution alone was responsible for over 400,000 fatalities across Europe in 2016 with, NO2 pollution accounting for a further 71,000 fatalities. (To Be Continued)

 

 


Email:prof.sheikhmustafa@gmail.com

 

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COVID-19 Pandemic & it’s Pan-Environmental Impact -1  

June 27, 2020 | Mustafa Majid Sheikh

 

 

With enforcement of global lockdown majority of humans are staying home to save themselves from getting contracted with coronavirus. With less human intervention, the air is getting cleaner allowing people to breath in harmless oxygen, the water is clearer allowing aquatic life a sigh of relief from different pollutants and allowing animals to roam freely in their habitats without threat from poachers or hunters. It seems that COVID-19 pandemic has provided environment with a gift. It has taken billions of people off the streets around the world and reduced national international travel both air & road resulting into many positive environmental changes.
Back in October & November 2019, Delhi was wheezing for breath. Dangerous particulate levels in the air were about 20 times greater than WHO air quality standard. Air quality had reached " horrendous levels". Schools were bolted, flights diverted, and people were advised to wear masks, avoid venturing out unnecessarily and stay indoors. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal while discussing problem of air pollution stated that the city has turned into a "Gas chamber". Five million masks were distributed among schools going student in Delhi which forced officials to declare a public health emergency.
The levels of minute particulate material (known as PM2.5) which badly affects the lungs was 533 micrograms per cubic metre in the city. As per the standards of World Health Organization (WHO) the PM2.5 levels should not be more than 25 micrograms per cubic metre on average in 24 hours. Delhi and 15 other Indian cities feature on a list of the world's 20 most polluted cities. It is estimated that more than a million Indians die every year because of air pollution-related diseases. Industrial smoke, vehicular emissions, burning of trash and crop residue, and construction and road dust are the major contributors.
With lockdown being enforced in major cities around the national and international level, the Emanations of the planet-heating gas CO2 have also fallen sharply. The air quality of the cities in India and world over have improved significantly. Even before the first national lockdown on March 25, the phased lockdowns downs in India were having an impact on environment. In first three weeks of March, the usual nitrogen dioxide levels declined by 40-50% in the cities of Pune Ahmedabad and Mumbai, compared to similar period in 2018 and 2019 as per the data of System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) which works under the banner of India's Ministry of Earth Sciences. SAFAR also reported that that the level of particle pollution dropped by nearly 60% and that the air quality in the national capital on (April 21, 2020) was recorded in the ‘satisfactory’ category with PM2.5 at 35.
The European Space Agency (ESA) satellite imagery observed a substantial drop in NO2 emissions in northern Italy between 1 January and 11 March 2020, corresponding with lockdowns to fight off the deadly coronavirus.
Analysis of air quality in different cities of China carried out for the climate website Carbon Brief, reported a decrease of 25% in energy consumption and emissions in China in just two weeks of lockdown which is expected to lead to an overall reduction of about 1% carbon emissions in China in 2020. In city of Wuhan, epicentre of the lethal virus reported 44% reduction in air pollution levels from February 26 to March 18 corresponding to the same period last year. The concentration of PM2.5 dropped from 63.2 and 43.9 micrograms per cubic meter in February/March 2019 respectively, to 36.8 and 32.9 in the February/March this year.
South Korean capital Seoul recorded a 54% drop in PM2.5 levels from February 26 to March 18 as compared to the pollution levels from the previous year during the same period. In March2019, the South Korean government has declared air pollution a "social disaster."
Los Angeles recorded its longest period of clean air, from 7 to 28 March. PM2.5 concentration levels were dropped down by 31% from the same time last year, and down 51% from the average of the previous four years.
Researchers in New York told the BBC their early results showed carbon monoxide mainly from cars had been reduced by nearly 50% compared with last year.
The UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and the University of Reading reported that London city observed almost 60 per cent reduction in air pollution since the start of the coronavirus lockdown in U.K. Analysis carried out by BBC reported significant drop in air pollution in the most polluted cities including Readings in London, Glasgow, Bristol and Oxford since the announcement of lockdown on 23 March compared to the same period last year.
The AIRPARIF an organisation responsible for monitoring air quality in the Paris, reported that France's stay-at-home guidelines to fight the coronavirus resulted into a 20 to 30 percent fall in overall air pollution levels in Paris.
A study by Ecologists in Action reported that pollution in urbanised areas has fallen by 58% between March 14 and April 30 in cities across Spain.
The improvement in air quality in past few months of the Covid19 lockdown has prevented 11,000 deaths from pollution in the UK and elsewhere in Europe. Strident falls in road traffic and industrial emanations and radiations have resulted in 1.3m fewer days of work absence, 6,000 less children developing asthma, 1,900 emergency cases avoided, room visits and 600 fewer preterm births, according to the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air.
It is pertinent to mention that every year, millions of people die of air pollution. Globally 7 million deaths occur every year due to exposure to air pollution which is much less than the deaths caused by COVID19 this year (World Health Organization (WHO). A recent study by Zhu et al. (2020) suggested that there is a relationship between higher concentrations of air pollutants and higher risk of COVID-19 infection. China topped the 10 countries with the highest mortality 1.2 million due to air pollution(Health Effects Institute, see https://www.healtheffects.org/). As per the data published by the European Environment Agency (EEA), particulate pollution alone was responsible for over 400,000 fatalities across Europe in 2016 with, NO2 pollution accounting for a further 71,000 fatalities. (To Be Continued)

 

 


Email:prof.sheikhmustafa@gmail.com

 


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Owner, Printer, Publisher, Editor: Farooq Ahmad Wani
Legal Advisor: M.J. Hubi
Printed at: Abid Enterprizes, Zainkote Srinagar
Published from: Gulshanabad Chraresharief Budgam
RNI No.: JKENG/2010/33802
Office No’s: 0194-2451076, 9622924716 , 9419400056
Postal Regd No: SK/135/2010-2019
Administrative Office: Abi Guzer Srinagar

© Copyright 2018 brighterkashmir.com All Rights Reserved.