The Lockdown on our Carbon Footprints

Green Karma

Whatever might be the actual cause, i.e. scientific, political, or health advisory, the truth is that since the National Lockdown or Janta Curfew that began from 24th March 2020 and continues till 17th May 2020 our environment took a breather. We human beings have finally begun to learn our lesson. Just by staying home, we have managed to reduce a few but a considerable percentage of our carbon footprints. We now see clear blue skies,  improved Air Quality Indexes, cleaner water bodies across the globe.

Before going further, one may ask what is Carbon Footprinting? And why is it so important to limit it? To get your answer, click here

The major sectors contributing to the increase in our carbon footprints are transport, industries, power plants, construction activities, biomass burning, road dust resuspension, and residential activities. In addition, landfill fires, deforestation are other major causes of the rapid growth of carbon footprints that also contribute to air pollution. To find more about carbon footprints on our previous blog. 

Air pollution is one of the world’s most dangerous health risks, as it kills seven million people each year according to the World Health Organization. Studies show that in comparison to tobacco, smoking reduces life expectancy by an average of 2.2 years, HIV / AIDS by 0.7 years, and other vector-borne diseases such as malaria — by 0.6 years, air pollution reduces life expectancy to 2.9 years. Air pollution is majorly caused by the excessive emission of carbon dioxide — the gas most commonly emitted by humans — and others, including methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gases, which trap heat in the atmosphere. 

Source: CERA

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused shut down to industrial activities and cancelled flights and other journeys, cutting down the greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution around the world. If there is something positive to take from this terrible crisis, it could be that it’s offered a taste of the air we might breathe in a low-carbon future.

Source: CERA

India’s Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has recently reported an improvement in air quality in the country. The data suggests a nearly 71% fall in nitrogen dioxide levels due to the sharp drop in fossil fuel combustion after the lockdown in the above sector. Ghaziabad the major polluted Indian city of 2019 closely followed by Greater Noida, Noida, and Bulandshahr that have witnessed severe air quality conditions with crossed the 400 marks of the Air Quality Index (AQI) on several occasions which are improved with a recorded range of 60 to 100 AQI.

Source: CERA

The major Indian cities New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Chennai have also witnessed the fall in Air Quality Index. The Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) released details study assessing satellite images (TROPOMI/S5P satellite data), Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) real-time data, electricity generation and petroleum product consumptionacross India on April 16, 2020. An overall 18% reduction was recorded in petroleum products use during April 2020 as compared to March 2019. The National Green Tribunal (NGT), India’s environment watchdog, has also confirmed that the nationwide lockdown has improved the air quality.
Thus, in these uncertain and turbulent times, one thing has become clear: that anthropogenic factors resulting in an alarmingly high carbon footprint were forced to be reduced during the lockdown, which has shown at least an initial positive effect on the environment. Although it is too early to make conclusive statements about it, one can definitely undertake steps to reduce our carbon footprints and preserve the natural processes and environment.

 By—- Team Green Watch 

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