NO2 Levels Fell 70% during Lockdown in Delhi: United Nations Report

Published: July 28, 2020

A United Nations report has pointed out that the levels of nitrogen dioxide have reduced by as much as 70 per cent during the lockdown in New Delhi. However, the report has also pointed out that the environmental gains would be temporary if the cities resume operations without proper policies for the prevention of air pollution and promotion of de-carbonization.

The policy brief by the UN Secretary-General on ‘COVID 19 in an Urban World’ pointed out to the fact that poor air quality is one of the factors of higher COVID 19 mortality and concentration rates in the urban areas of the world. The size of the populations and their high level of global and local inter-connectivity make the urban people particularly vulnerable to the spread of the virus.

What did the Policy Brief Say?

According to the UN Policy Brief, the pollution and greenhouse gas emissions have fallen sharply during the pandemic because the countries halted their economies to contain the spread of the COVID 19. So, once the countries re-open, the benefits are going to be a thing of the past very soon.

Going into the details of the impact of lockdown, levels of nitrogen di-oxide fell by more than 40% in the urban areas of China, 20% in Belgium and between 19-40 per cent in various areas of the USA. A small increase in the fine particulate matter has been associated with 8% increase and around 21.4% increase in the death rates in the US and the Netherlands, respectively.

The report particularly focused on the impact of COVID 19 in urban areas. It is not the case that high population is the cause of COVID 19 spread in the urban areas but it is mainly regarding the choices they make regarding organization and urbanization.

Another important aspect that should be taken into account in the treatment of inequality among the urban masses. The urban citizens who are the most vulnerable should be prioritized by providing them with proper habitation, healthcare facilities, etc.

The local government should also be strengthened to improve the administration of the local areas in the world.

Overall, all the countries should also pursue a green, resilient and inclusive economic recovery.

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