The first lockdown in India because of the pandemic of Covid-19 led the country to an improvement in air quality. Furthermore, the temperature of the soil surface was reduced in the period in the main urban areas of the country, according to research by the Central University of Jharkhand and the British University of Southampton.

The large reduction in industrial activities and the decrease in the use of both land and air, because of travel and working restrictions outside the home, resulted in a significant environmental improvement. The team that developed the study arrived at the information through Earth observation sensors.

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Among the sources were the European Space Agency (ESA) Sentinel-5p satellite and Modis, which captures images aboard NASA's Terra satellite. They measured changes in surface temperature and air pollutants and aerosols concentrated in six major urban areas. from the country. The places analyzed were Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta, Chenai, Bangalor and Haiderabad.

The researchers then compared data during the March-May 2020 lockdown with those from pre-pandemic years. Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions fell by an average of 31,5% in the six cities, equivalent to a 12% reduction across India. In New Delhi, the country's capital, the reduction was 40%.

Also according to the study, around 16 thousand people die in the country each year because of the poor air quality. The findings were published in the scientific journal Environmental Research.

Pollution in New Delhi, capital of India, in photo 2019
Pollution in New Delhi, capital of India, in photo 2019. Image: Amit Kg/Shutterstock

Already temperature of the soil surface in the cities analyzed in India decreased by 1°C during the day and up to 2°C at night, compared to the average of the last five years, from 2015 to 2019.

This drop is directly associated with the reduction in the concentration of greenhouse gases, higher atmospheric water vapor content and meteorological conditions.

“This is an important finding to fuel planning for sustainable urban development,” said Professor Jadu Dash of the University of Southampton and co-author of the study.

Street: Phys

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