Hyderabad: The city’s air is rife with Nitrogen dioxide (NO2). This is contrary to popular belief that the lockdown has helped improve the air quality, an analysis conducted by Greenpeace India Society has found.
Nitrogen dioxide pollution is known to cause damage to the human respiratory tract, cause asthma and make a person vulnerable to other respiratory infections. The study said there was growing evidence that polluted cities suffered disproportionately more from coronavirus cases.
Increased concentrations of NO2, Greenpeace said, were found not just in Hyderabad but across several cities in India during the current Covid19 pandemic.
The report published on Wednesday said: “In Hyderabad, nitrogen dioxide air pollution was 69 per cent higher in April 2021 than in the same month the previous year. A part of this difference is attributable to changing weather conditions. After removing the effect of weather, there is still an increase of 38 per cent which is attributed to an increase in emissions.”
After a year since the initial Covid lockdown went into effect, NO2 pollution has increased in eight Indian cities -- Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata, Jaipur, and Lucknow.
According to satellite observations, NO2 pollution in Hyderabad increased by 69 per cent between April 2020 and April 2021. The weather had only a little of the contribution to this change. In Delhi, NO2 was higher by 125 per cent, Chennai by 94 per cent Mumbai by 52 per cent, Bengaluru by 90 per cent Kolkata by 11 per cent, Jaipur by 47 per cent and Lucknow by 32 per cent in April 2021 than in the same month the previous year
While there was an opinion that the weather conditions would abate the pollution, the result drawn out in the study showed that despite taking the weather conditions into account, NO2 pollution occurred. This was primarily due to changes in emissions, while weather influence was only of secondary importance in most places,” it said.
According to Avinash Chanchal, climate campaigner with Greenpeace India, “The air quality levels in these cities are alarming. People saw clean skies and breathed fresh air during the nationwide lockdown though it was an unintended consequence of the pandemic. The disruption caused by the pandemic is a case for transition to cleaner, equitable and sustainable decentralised energy sources such as rooftop solar and clean and sustainable mobility. The recovery from the pandemic must not come at the expense of a return to previous levels of air pollution.”