The System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research(SAFAR) has registered a sharp dip in air pollution due to the nationwide lockdown done to control the spread of COVID-19.
Findings of SAFAR System
Air quality over 90 cities in different states has improved due to the reduced vehicular movement across the nation, leading to a drop in PM2.5 and NOx levels.
The air pollution levels across the nation vary between a satisfactory or good category. It is better than the air quality levels of last year.
Factors such as shutting down of industries, construction activities and reduction in traffic movement across the nation have contributed in improving the air quality.
Rain in various parts of the country has also helped in bringing down the air pollution levels.
There are six Air Quality Index categories:
- Very Poor(301-400)
PM2.5 is referred to as atmospheric particulate matter that has a diameter less than 2.5 micrometers.
These pollutants are so small and light that tend to stay longer in air than other heavier particles and can only be detected by an electronic microscope.
Various originating sources of PM2.5 are power plants, motor vehicles, forest fires, agricultural burning, volcanic eruptions, residential wood burning, airplanes and dust storms. Some of them are directly emitted into air, while others are formed when gases and particles interact with one another in the atmosphere.
Such small pollutants can easily bypass the nose and throat and enter our lungs and circulatory system leading to premature death from lung and heart diseases.
NOx are a group of seven gases and compounds composed of nitrogen and oxygen which contribute to the formation of smog, acid rain and create environmental health hazards when they react with sunlight.
Two common oxides of nitrogen are nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide.
These pollutants are emitted from burning of coal, oil, diesel fuel, and natural gas especially from electric power plants.
NOx causes a headache, abnormal pain, irritation in eyes, respiratory system and on the skin and various respiratory diseases.