Air Pollution Amidst COVID-19

6 August 2020

Air pollution is one of the key elements which can change the environmental conditions and South Asian cities are prone towards air pollution. As we all know that to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, lockdown was implicated in various countries to reduce the transmission of virus. Lockdown resulted in fewer transportation facilities thus resulting in less fuel consumption and lesser gas emission which resulted in improved environment quality. Traffic pollution mostly results in Nitrogen dioxide emission. Nitrogen dioxide causes respiratory problems, bronchial hyper responsiveness and cellular inflammation. But as soon as lockdown was partially or fully uplifted, transportation services were restored and the rate of air pollution got increased as when compared during the lockdown period. A study done in the US found that even small increase in the particulate matter concentration of 1 micrograms per cubic metre is associated with an increase of COVID-19 death rate by 8%. Scientists suggests that during humid environmental conditions the dust particles will get coated with a thin layer of water film on it. And as soon as a person coughs or sneezes, these films will get coated with the saliva droplets and will promote the airborne spread. It is supported by the fact that there was less transmission of infection in some places due to the improved quality of air. During the lockdown period there was a notable reduction in the amount of nitrogen dioxide as well as the particulate matter.

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