A significant drop in air pollution levels across India after about a month COVID-19 lockdown

Health Care Comments Off

The levels of NO2 and ozone across India are within the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.

No clear relationship observed between current air quality vs confirmed COVID-19 cases in India.

During COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown enforced, countries across the world have reported a significant drop in air pollution and witnessed improvement in air quality.

In India, the most significant improvement in air quality during lockdown was observed in cities across Indo-Gangetic plain as in most of the normal days, particularly in winter months, particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5 levels) and NO2 values are high in Indo-Gangetic plain due to geographical location and other factors, including very high population density and spread of industrial clusters.

As per an earlier analysis done by Team of HCFI, after 11 days of COVID-19 lockdown, the level of particulate pollution (particulate matter, PM10 and PM2.5) dropped by nearly 60% in Delhi. PM10 (particulate matter 10 micrometres or less in diameter) and PM2.5 (particulate matter 2.5 micrometres or less in diameter) are particles present in the air that are classified as pollutants and can harm human health. The deadliest particle in Delhis foul air is PM 2.5 (primarily comes from combustion – fires, automobiles and power plants), which increases the likelihood of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.

Across the globe, studies have been conducted to get a clear relationship between air pollution exposure and COVID-19 confirmed cases as high levels of air pollution can cause damage to the lungs and thus makes one more susceptible to either getting the infection or to getting complications from COVID-19. The World Economic Forum also said that people living with poor air quality may be more susceptible to COVID-19 disease.

A recent study w.r.t. exposure to air pollution and COVID-19 mortality in the United States by Xiao Wu et.al of Dept. of Biostatistics, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, USA, indicates that coronavirus patients in areas with high levels of air pollution before the pandemic, have increased odds of dying from the infection than patients in cleaner parts of the country. This study offers the first clear association between long-term exposure to pollution and COVID-19 death rates.

The authors in above study found that an increase of only 1 μg/m3 in PM2.5 is associated with a 15% increase in the COVID-19 death rate. Results are statistically significant and robust to secondary and sensitivity analyses. They have concluded that a small increase in long-term exposure to PM2.5 leads to a large increase in COVID-19 death rate. The study results highlight the importance of continuous enforcement of existing air pollution regulations to protect human health both during and after the COVID-19 crisis.

In this regard, Team of Experts of HCFI has done detailed analysis of air quality data ( Air Quality Index- AQI, PM10, PM2.5, NO2 and Ozone) from about 180 Continuous Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Stations (CAAQMS) across India and correlated with confirmed COVID-19 cases . Status of confirmed COVID-19 cases of various States/UTs as on 21-04-2020 and corresponding State/UT wise Air Quality status ( as per average CPCB/SPCB data w.r.t. National Air Quality Index as on 21-04-2020 at 4:00 PM) is given below in the Table:

State/UT

Confirmed COVID-19 Cases

AIR Quality status ( PM10, PM2.5, NO2 and Ozone values in microgram per meter cube)

Andhra Pradesh

722

AQI range

City

CAAQMS Location

AQI

PM10

PM2.5

NO2

Ozone

38-52

Amrawati

Secretariat

52

52

18

30

13

Raja Mahendravaram

Aanad Kala kshetram

38

16

9

5

38

Tirupati

Tirumala

39

13

10

8

39

Visakha-patnam

GVM

52

52

18

30

13

Corporation

Bihar

113

49-139

Gaya

Collectorate

96

-

48

21

96

Muzaffarpur

Collectorate

61

-

34

30

61

Patna

Govt. High School

108

108

26

11

4

Muradpur

64

64

40

17

9

Rajbansi

49

49

30

-

21

Nagar

Samanpura

139

49

47

30

53

Chandigarh

26

30

Chandigarh

Sector-25

30

30

22

15

29

Delhi

2081

55-163

Delhi

Alipur

94

94

54

26

67

Anand Vihar

84

84

77

21

56

Aya Nagar

62

62

56

18

26

Bawana

118

118

100

22

89

CRRI

77

77

56

18

14

DTU

97

86

61

22

97

Dwarka

89

84

50

20

89

Sector-8

IGI Airport

64

64

45

-

34

IHBAS

68

-

20

-

-

JLN stadium

89

70

43

18

89

Lodi Road

64

64

-

-

64

National stadium

66

66

59

19

31

Mandir Marg

72

72

51

34

20

Nehru Nagar

163

79

68

22

163

Okhla phase-2

89

-

42

19

6

Patparganj

55

55

41

12

35

Punjabi Bagh

77

77

65

34

31

R.K. Puram

63

63

43

25

46

Rohini

98

98

89

11

19

Shadipur

81

-

26

27

81

Sirifort

64

64

45

19

60

Sri Auro-bind Marg

121

48

37

6

121

Vivek Vihar

87

87

62

30

52

Wazirpur

75

75

67

33

45

State/

UT

Confirmed

COVID-19

cases

AIR Quality status ( PM10, PM2.5, NO2 and Ozone values in microgram per meter cube)

Gujrat

1939

AQI range

City

CAAQMS

Location

AQI

PM10

PM2.5

NO2

Ozone

51-75

Ahmedabad

Maninagar

72

72

47

17

60

Ankleshwar

GIDC

75

75

51

6

47

Gandhi Nagar

Sector-10

56

56

34

4

31

Nandesari

GIDC

51

49

28

51

-

Vatva

Phase-4 GIDC

69

69

53

31

24

Haryana

254

25-165

Ambala

Patti Mehar

42

-

39

21

42

Bahadurgarh

Arya Nagar

77

77

74

23

58

Ballabhgarh

Nathu Colony

74

64

74

11

14

Bhiwani

H.B. Colony

62

58

24

18

62

Daruhera

Municipal corporation office

63

50

61

13

63

Faridabad

Sector-30

98

98

19

14

41

Sector-16 A

165

-

48

-

165

Fatehabad

Huda sector

64

59

45

10

64

Gurugram

NISE Gwal Pahari

67

67

50

12

35

Sector-51

118

85

58

19

118

TERI gram

85

59

56

-

85

Vikas Sadan

121

-

51

27

121

Hisar

Urban Estate-II

70

70

46

24

28

Jind

Police line

64

51

50

19

64

Kaithal

Rishi Nagar

50

50

35

29

22

Karnal

Sector-12

54

-

54

10

34

Kurukshetra

Sector-7

56

40

33

14

56

Mandikhera

General Hospital

64

64

33

-

40

Manesar

Sector-2 IMT

73

73

25

2

-

Narnaul

Shastri Nagar

53

53

34

-

14

Palwal

Shyam Nagar

115

115

94

8

14

Panchkula

Sector-6

25

-

25

22

24

Panipat

Sector-18

91

91

41

70

46

Rohtak

M D Univ.

49

-

49

-

27

Sirsa

F Block

69

69

37

6

24

Sonepat

Murthal

83

83

32

35

15

Yamunanagar

Govindpura

81

58

44

20

81

Karnataka

408

31-60

Bengaluru

BTM layout

50

32

-

17

36

Bapuji nagar

51

31

18

9

51

Hebbal

31

31

18

3

-

Jaya Nagar

34

29

24

26

34

State/

UT

Confirmed

COVID-19

cases

AIR Quality status ( PM10, PM2.5, NO2 and Ozone values in microgram per meter cube)

Karnataka

(continued)

408

AQI range

City

CAAQMS

Location

AQI

PM10

PM2.5

NO2

Ozone

31-60

Bengaluru

Peenya

60

-

60

8

-

Sanegurva

Hill

38

38

-

24

-

Silk board

35

32

23

6

35

Bagalkot

Vidayagiri

53

38

-

5

53

Chikkballapur

Chikkaballapur rural

45

33

18

16

45

Chickamangaluru

Kalyana

nagar

52

52

35

25

28

Mysuru

Hebbal Ist stage

52

35

24

13

52

Rama nagara

Vijay nagar

39

39

30

15

9

Kerala

408

33-60

Ernakulam

Kacherypady

60

23

16

-

-

Kannur

Thavakkara

59

53

59

18

14

Kochi

Vyttila

52

27

28

6

2

Kolam

Polayathode

47

37

47

13

5

Kozhikode

Palayam

42

41

42

10

9

Thiruvanthapuram

Kanavattorm

55

39

37

14

55

Plammoodu

33

27

12

8

28

Madhya Pradesh

1485

45-169

Bhopal

T.T. Nagar

109

109

68

12

104

Damoh

Shrivastav colony

45

-

45

19

-

Dewas

Bhopal chauraha

110

101

110

22

74

Gwalior

City Centre

95

44

24

11

95

Phool bagh

72

-

72

-

-

Indore

Chhoti Gwaltoli

100

100

78

61

37

Jabalpur

Marhatal

104

104

55

27

64

Katni

Gole Bazar

123

123

62

20

94

Maihar

Sahilara

64

64

30

43

-

Mandideep

Sector- D Ind. Area

59

59

58

16

25

Pithampur

Sector-2 Ind. Area

116

116

78

14

16

Singrauli

Vindhyachal

169

151

99

33

169

Ujjain

Mahakaleshwar

159

114

159

16

150

Mizoram

1

24

Aizawl

Sikulpuikawn

24

24

-

1

12

Jharkhand

46

93

Jorapokhar

Tata stadium

93

93

39

14

-

Assam

35

35

Guwahati

Railway colony

35

35

33

8

32

Odisha

74

99

Brajraj Nagar

GM office

99

99

95

-

-

State/

UT

Confirmed

COVID-19

cases

AIR Quality status ( PM10, PM2.5, NO2 and Ozone values in microgram per meter cube)

Maharasthra

4666

AQI range

City

CAAQMS

Location

AQI

PM10

PM2.5

NO2

Ozone

44-89

Aurangabad

More chowk Waluj

52

38

33

17

52

Chandrapur

Chandrapur

65

65

49

16

24

Khutala

85

34

36

19

85

Mumbai

Bandra

55

55

27

5

-

Chhatrapati Shivaji Int. Airport

60

60

-

7

-

Colaba

44

-

26

3

44

Kurla

76

76

-

20

18

Powai

78

62

29

3

26

Sion

89

89

50

18

34

Worli

52

52

30

5

28

Nasik

Gangapur road

56

41

39

26

56

Navi Mumbai

Mahape

87

87

42

30

42

Nerul

70

69

44

13

28

Pune

Karve road

50

35

37

11

20

Solapur

solapur

44

44

42

-

36

Punjab

245

30-96

Amritsar

Golden temple

43

40

17

17

43

Bathinda

Hardev nagar

96

32

11

23

-

Jalandhar

Civil line

36

36

35

11

18

Khanna

Kalal majra

33

33

25

8

20

Ludhiana

Punjab Agri. Univ.

35

25

22

20

35

Mandi Govindgarh

RIMT univ

96

32

11

23

96

Patiala

Model town

37

37

24

8

17

Rup nagar

Ratanpura

30

30

24

16

-

Rajasthan

1576

57-82

Alwar

Moti Doongri

66

39

35

43

66

Ajmer

Civil line

77

51

31

11

77

Bhiwadi

RIICO Ind. Area-III

74

74

55

15

55

Jaipur

Adarsh nagar

82

30

22

15

82

Police Commissionerate

68

58

43

22

68

Shatri nagar

70

28

22

19

70

Jodhpur

Collectorate

79

79

52

27

53

Kota

Shrinathpuram

57

38

34

17

57

Pali

Indra colony vistar

76

76

51

15

75

Udaipur

Ashok nagar

81

55

44

15

81

State/

UT

Confirmed

COVID-19

cases

AIR Quality status ( PM10, PM2.5, NO2 and Ozone values in microgram per meter cube)

Tamilnadu

1520

AQI range

City

CAAQMS

Location

AQI

PM10

PM2.5

NO2

Ozone

26-68

Chennai

Alandur bus depot

26

-

16

2

26

Manali village

68

-

16

8

68

Manali

40

-

37

9

-

Velachri res area

40

-

5

2

30

Telangana

873

41-60

Hyderabad

Bollaram Ind. area

53

53

42

39

28

Central Univ.

45

35

22

45

5

ICRISAT

41

41

30

22

20

IDA Pasahamylaram

50

46

35

50

24

Sanathnagar

49

-

48

12

49

Zoo park

60

-

60

54

19

Uttar Pradesh

1184

55-161

Agra

Sanjay palace

114

-

114

64

11

Bulandshahar

Yamunapuram

161

161

137

29

117

Ghaziabad

Indirapuram

89

89

57

25

82

Loni

123

123

90

16

82

Sanjay nagar

109

109

95

44

60

Vasundhara

89

89

67

51

22

Greater Noida

Knowledge park III

113

113

82

-

92

Knowledge Park V

102

102

-

26

90

Hapur

Anand vihar

159

159

83

74

2

Kanpur

Nehru nagar

62

-

50

13

62

Lucknow

Central School

114

-

114

9

11

Gomti nagar

74

-

74

24

59

Lal bagh

55

-

43

22

18

Talkatora distric centre

67

-

67

9

-

Meerut

Ganga nagar

92

92

48

24

28

Pallavpuram phase II

113

113

60

16

18

Mujaffar nagar

New mandi

103

103

67

7

19

Noida

Sector 62

89

72

89

17

65

Sector 1

104

104

55

19

83

Sector116

77

-

77

23

46

State/

UT

Confirmed

COVID-19

cases

AIR Quality status ( PM10, PM2.5, NO2 and Ozone values in microgram per meter cube)

West Bengal

392

AQI range

City

CAAQMS

Location

AQI

PM10

PM2.5

NO2

Ozone

21-69

Howrah

Belur Math

21

21

14

20

-

Ghusuri

58

42

27

18

56

Padmapukar

28

27

28

13

13

Kolkata

Bollygunge

52

27

13

6

52

Bidhan nagar

48

25

20

7

48

Fort Villiam

55

26

23

14

55

Jadavpur

27

27

16

11

20

Ravindra Bharti Univ.

69

25

20

25

69

Rabindra sarobar

48

21

-

8

48

Victoria

41

31

18

16

41

Siliguri

Ward 32 Bapupura

38

32

38

38

22

The above data of current Air Quality vs. confirmed COVID-19 cases in India do not show any clear relationship. However, long-term exposure of higher levels of air pollutants, particularly higher PM2.5 levels, may weaken the immunity and thus raise the risk of COVID-19 infection. Detailed study in this regard is needed.

However, as per present study, the levels of NO2 and Ozone throughout India are found within the National Ambient Air Quality Standards, notified as per the Central Pollution Control Board Notification in the Gazette of India, dated 18th November, 2009 (PM10 std. 24 hourly = 100 microgram per meter cube, PM2.5 std. 24 hourly = 60 microgram per meter cube, NO2 std. 24 hourly = 80 microgram per meter cube and Ozone std. 1 hourly = 180 microgram per meter cube).

Levels of PM10 and PM2.5 have significantly declined during lockdown period as compared to normal days. However, levels of PM10 and PM2.5 in some States/UTs at few locations are found above the standards.

Though, presently, we have observed clean air due to the lockdown in India but this respite is for a short-term period. After the restrictions are lifted and human activities start, there will be a sudden rise in air pollution. But, the lockdown during COVID-19 has shown ways to tackle air pollution issues, only what’s needed is political will, societal interventions and strict enforcement.

Dr KK Aggarwal

President CMAAO, HCFI and Past National President IMA

Ambient Particulate Air Pollution and Daily Mortality in 652 Cities

Health Care Comments Off

An increase of 10 μg per cubic meter in the two days moving average of PM10 concentration (average over the current and previous day) was associated with increases of 0.44% in daily all-cause mortality, 0.36% in daily cardiovascular mortality, and 0.47% in daily respiratory mortality, revealed a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

The corresponding increases in daily mortality for the same change in PM2.5 concentration were 0.68%, 0.55%, and 0.74%.  These associations remained significant after adjustment for gaseous pollutants.

Associations were stronger in locations with lower annual mean PM concentrations and higher annual mean temperatures.

The study included almost 60 million deaths from 652 cities in 24 countries.

Take home trick: Every 20 rise in PM 10/2.5 levels increases the mortality by 1%.

Dr KK Aggarwal

President CMAAO, HCFI and Past National President IMA

How to protect yourself from air pollution?

Health Care Comments Off

The air quality in Delhi-NCR has improved, but, we cannot ‘breathe’ a sigh of relief yet, as the AQI remains in the “very unhealthy” category.

Here are few tips on how you can protect yourself from air pollution.

  • Keep the nose (nasal passages) wet; use saline nasal drops. These not only moisturize the nose but also clean out any dust particles, pollen.
  • If eyes are burning, use artificial tear drops or wash your eyes with clean plain water  or with triphala water.
  • Use anti-pollution masks to reduce particulate matter
  • The air conditioner will reduce pollution levels only if it is recirculating and has a HEPA filter.
  • Use air purifiers at home.

But do remember that you can only reduce your exposure or risk by using mask or a purifier, but you cannot prevent it completely.

The government has the responsibility to reduce the costs of purifiers and masks and make them available at Mohalla Clinics and Jan Aushadhi  Kendras under price control. This should be done immediately on priority so that the general public can use them under the prevailing conditions of high pollution levels.

Dr KK Aggarwal

Padma Shri Awardee

President Confederation of Medical Associations in Asia and Oceania (CMAAO)

Group Editor-in-Chief IJCP Publications

President Heart Care Foundation of India

Past National President IMA

« Previous Entries