In India, air quality has been improving despite the COVID-19 lockdown

India is home to some of the world’s most polluted cities. An unintended but welcomeshutterstock_761795974 consequence of the lockdown to contain the coronavirus has been improved air quality throughout the country.  Our assessment of India’s air quality trends has found another underlying and positive trend: air quality has been improving across the country since 2018, and this has nothing to do with the COVID-19 lockdown. 

Growing Threat of Air Pollution

Poor air quality has come to be recognized as a serious health risk and drag on economic development in India. Air quality has been deteriorating across the country since the 1990s, and in 2017 as much as 97 percent of the country’s population was estimated to be exposed to unhealthy levels of ambient PM2.5.  Though there are many types of air pollutants, these small particulates in the air, about one-thirtieth the width of a human hair, are the most harmful to human health.  They can penetrate deep into the lungs, enter the bloodstream and cause deadly illnesses such as lung cancer, stroke, and heart disease.

Continue reading