Any relief from lockdown resultant pollution levels cannot be rejoiced, feel experts.

Any relief from lockdown resultant pollution levels cannot be rejoiced, feel experts.

"Lockdown related reduction in air pollution is neither consistent nor uniform. The contribution of anthropogenic activities does not totally explain the high pollution level. Thus we should stay alert about the continuing health hazards of high pollutant levels, especially in metropolitan cities. And this is not the right time to let the guards down," said Arun Sharma, President of the Society for Indoor Environment.

Since the unprecedented nationwide lockdown in 2020, experts have claimed that it gave them a first-ever opportunity to understand background pollution levels in India when the majority of the polluting sources were not at play.

In 2020, out of the eight primary polluting sources in India, four were completely closed during the lockdown period namely construction and industrial activity, brick kilns and vehicles.

Meanwhile, sources like household emissions, open burning, diesel generators and dust remained operational along with coal-fired thermal power plants at reduced capacity.

The 2021 lockdown was not as absolute, although it allowed a comparative analysis between the two years.

Dhaka of Rajdhani College added, "Lockdown has provided an opportunity to examine the background pollution in the atmosphere when everything was shut down in 2020; atmosphere was fairly clean. However, we did not meet the condition of 40 ug/m3 prescribed by the CPCB.

"We need to redefine the natural conditions in India, for which particulate matter concentrations are more than 50-60 ug/m3 even in the clean atmosphere in northern India."

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