Unprecedented Reduction in Air Pollution and Corresponding Short-term Premature Mortality Associated with COVID-19 Lockdown in Delhi, India

Maji, Kamal, Namdeo, Anil, Bell, Margaret, Goodman, Paul, Nagendra, S. M. Shiva, Barnes, Joanna H., Vito, Laura De, Hayes, Enda, Longhurst, James, Kumar, Rakesh, Sharma, Niraj, Kuppili, Sudheer Kumar and Alshetty, V. Dheeraj (2021) Unprecedented Reduction in Air Pollution and Corresponding Short-term Premature Mortality Associated with COVID-19 Lockdown in Delhi, India. Journal of the Air and Waste Management Association. ISSN 1096-2247 (In Press)

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1080/10962247.2021.1905104

Abstract

Countries around the world introduced strict restrictions on movement and activities known as ‘lockdowns’ to restrict the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) from the end of 2019. A sudden improvement in air quality was observed globally as a result of these lockdowns. To provide insight into the changes in air pollution levels in response to the COVID-19 restrictions we have compared surface air quality data in Delhi during four phases of lockdown and the first phase of the restriction easing period (25 March to 30 June 2020) with data from a baseline period (2018–2019). Simultaneously, short-term exposure of PM2.5 and O3 attributed premature mortality were calculated to understand the health benefit of the change in air quality. Ground-level observations in Delhi showed that concentrations of PM10, PM2.5 and NO2 dropped substantially in 2020 during the overall study period compared with the same period in previous years, with average reductions of ~49%, ~39%, and ~39%, respectively. An overall lower reduction in O3 of ~19% was observed for Delhi. A slight increase in O3 was found in Delhi’s industrial and traffic regions. The highest peak of the diurnal variation decreased substantially for all the pollutants at every phase. The decrease in PM2.5 and O3 concentrations in 2020, prevented 904 total premature deaths, a 60% improvement when compared to the figures for 2018-2019. The restrictions on human activities during the lockdown have reduced anthropogenic emissions and subsequently improved air quality and human health in one of the most polluted cities in the world.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding information: This work was part of the Clean Air for Delhi Through Interventions, Mitigations, and Engagement (CADTIME) study supported by the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC ref: NE/P016588/1) and the Indian Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES). This work used data downloaded from the public-facing portal for automatic air-quality monitoring of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) of India. We would like to acknowledge Dr Lindsay Bramwell at Northumbria University for insightful discussion and editing of the manuscript.
Subjects: F800 Physical and Terrestrial Geographical and Environmental Sciences
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Geography and Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: Elena Carlaw
Date Deposited: 16 Mar 2021 12:11
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2021 16:19
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/45705

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