Während die Sperrung zur Beendigung der Ausbreitung des Coronavirus in Indien anhält, sind die Verschmutzungswerte in weiten Teilen des Landes stark zurückgegangen. Jetzt sagen einige Bewohner in Nordindien, dass sie zum ersten Mal seit 30 Jahren den 200 Kilometer entfernten, schneebedeckten Himalaya sehen können.
Faszinierend, erstaunlich, massiv, überraschend, nie zuvor. In den sozialen Medien gab es keinen Mangel an Worten, um auszudrücken, was die Menschen im Distrikt Jalandhar in Punjab in Indien fühlten.
Sant Balbir Singh Seechewal sagt, dass er so etwas noch nie gesehen hat.
- Indien ist derzeit für 21 Tage gesperrt.
- Indiens Central Pollution Board sagt, dass es eine „signifikante Verbesserung der Luftqualität“ gegeben hat
„Wir können die schneebedeckten Berge von unseren Dächern aus deutlich sehen. Und nicht nur das, Sterne sind nachts sichtbar. So etwas habe ich in letzter Zeit noch nie erlebt“, sagt Herr Seechewal, der sich seit über 30 Jahren dafür einsetzt, das Bewusstsein für Umweltverschmutzung zu schärfen.
Bilder der schneebedeckten Dhauladhar-Reihe des Himalaya wurden weithin geteilt.
Der ehemalige indische Cricketspieler Harbhajan Singh sagte, es sei eine nie dagewesene Erfahrung.
“Never seen Dhauladar range from my home rooftop in Jalandhar. Never could imagine that’s possible. A clear indication of the impact the pollution has done by us to mother earth,” Mr Singh posted on Twitter.
India pollution to ‚unbelievably low levels‘
India, a country of nearly 1.4 billion people, has been under lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic since 22 March.
“Not just normal traffic is off the roads, but most industry is also shut down. This has helped bring the pollution level to unbelievably low levels,” Mr Seechewal said.
India’s Central Pollution Board says the nationwide Janta Curfew on March 22, and lockdown since March 22, have resulted in significant improvement in air quality in the country.
In Delhi alone, overall, there was a reduction of up to 44 per cent in PM10 March 22-23, 2020 compared to the previous day.
According to the India Today Data Intelligence Unit (DIU) from March 16-27, the air quality index improved by 33 per cent on an average in the country.
“Data shows that on average, Indian cities had an AQI of 115 between March 16 and 24. The air quality started showing improvements from the first day of the 21-day lockdown. The average AQI fell to 75 in the first three days of the lockdown,” reads the report.
The World Health Organisation says the safe limit for air quality is to keep the particulate matter PM2.5 below 20mg/m3.
India, during most of the year, records five times higher (PM 2.5 higher than 100mg/m3) than the global safe limit.
Official figures suggest the lockdown has so far helped keep the spread of coronavirus under control.
According to the latest figures from India’s health ministry, the total number of COVID-19 cases in the country has passed the 4,000 mark with over 100 people dead so far.
Balbir Singh Seechewal says this should be taken as a wake-up call.
“I had never imagined I would experience such a clean world around me. The unimaginable has happened. It shows nothing is impossible. We must work together to keep it like that,” he said.
Worldwide pollution levels drop amid Coronavirus measures
The shutdown of businesses and activities related to Covid-19 has also led to a decrease in nitrogen dioxide concentration across the world.
The European Union’s space agency (ESA) has detected reductions in the pollutant nitrogen dioxide associated with shutdowns due to the coronavirus across the world.
New research is now looking at why the mortality rate was up to 12 per cent in parts of northern part of Italy compared to approximately 4.5 per cent in the rest of the country.
Scientists at Aarhus University say they found a „probable correlation between air pollution and mortality in two of the worst affected regions in northern Italy.“
Their research has been published in the scientific journal Environmental Pollution.
People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others and gatherings are limited to two people unless you are with your family or household.
If you believe you may have contracted the virus, call your doctor (don’t visit) or contact the national Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. If you are struggling to breathe or experiencing a medical emergency, call 000.
SBS is committed to informing Australia’s diverse communities about the latest COVID-19 developments. News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus.
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