According to a study, the first lockdown imposed in India last year because of an increase in the Covid-19 cases has led to a reduction in land surface temperature and improvement in air quality.
The findings, published in the journal Environmental Research, provide strong proof for potential environmental benefits through larger-scale policy implementation.
The study says that the work and travel restrictions imposed early in India have resulted in a significant environmental improvement because of abrupt reduction in industrial activities and highly decline in the use of air and land transport.
The researchers have used data from a range of Earth observation sensors, which includes those from NASA’s MODIS sensors and the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-5p in order to measure changes in surface temperature and atmospheric pollutants and aerosols.
They focused on the few major urban areas of India, such as Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, and Hyderabad to compare data from the lockdown imposed in March to May last year with pre-pandemic years.
As per the study, these urban areas have noticed a reduction in nitrogen dioxide (NO2), equivalent to an average decrease of 12 percent throughout India, and a greenhouse gas emitted from the combustion of fossil fuels.
Coauthor Jadu Dash, Professor at the University of Southampton in the UK conducted a study and said that “The lockdown provided a natural experiment to understand the coupling between urbanization and local microclimate.”
He additionally said that “We clearly observed that reduction in atmospheric pollutants resulted in a decrease in the local day and night-time temperature. This is an important finding to feed into the planning for sustainable urban development,” Dash said.