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Six days into the lockdown, here’s how much air quality has improved in major Indian cities

REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis
  • Manavi Kapur
By Manavi Kapur



Indians cities are breathing easy.

Air quality in Delhi, notorious for being the worst in the world, is in “healthy zone” thanks to the nationwide, 21-day lockdown to contain the spread of Covid-19. Other metropolitan and tier-2 cities, too, are witnessing a similar trend.

Since March 25, India has shut down offices, schools, cinema halls, malls, markets, and non-essential service providers. All modes of public transport such as metro trains, buses, inter-state trains, and domestic and international flights for civilian movement have also been stopped.

A reading below 50 indicates good air quality, moderate between 100 and 200, and poor air quality if the reading is above 200.


Particulate matter pollution in major Indian cities is at an all-time low. Compared to the same time last year, the air quality all around is significantly better right now.

The question is whether this good air run is sustainable once the lockdown ends. Global climate change collective has, for instance, warned against looking at this as a “silver lining,” emphasising that such lockdowns should not take away the need for consistent policy change to fix air quality and fight climate change.

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