The monsoon showers in August improved the air quality index (AQI) in the city, making it even better than it was in March and May—the month of complete lockdown.
During the lockdown period beginning from March 24 to May 3, vehicular movements, construction activities, industrial production etc was completely banned, helping the AQI to go up from the moderate category to the satisfactory.
The AQI level was recorded through the Continuous Ambit Air Quality Monitoring System (CAAQMS) installed at Panjab University in Sector 25. The CAAQMS delivers the real time scenario of Air Quality Index of the area in which it is installed, contrary to the normal Air Quality Monitoring Device (AQMD), which provides AQI of the day after 24 hours. An AQI between 0-50 considered Good, 51-100 Satisfactory, 101-200 Moderate, 201-300 Breathing discomfort, 301-400 Very Poor and >401 is severe.
“The scrutiny of the AQI pattern in the last six months suggest that if it had rained in Chandigarh during the lockdown period, the AQI level would have shown record breaking improvement. The pattern also reflects the impact of rain on our weather,” said Debendra Dalai, Director of the Department of Environment, Chandigarh.
In August, the AQI level was in the good category for 29 days continuously. Ironically, all vehicular movement etc had restarted by then.
The best AQI level was recorded on August 30.
In June, the level remained satisfactory and in July it ranged from satisfactory to good.
A technical scientist with the Chandigarh Pollution Control Board (CPCB) said, “The lockdown period not only helped reduce the overall air quality of Chandigarh but also of the entire nation. This also helped in allowing us to reflect on the over utilisation of resources by mankind and the urgent need to reduce one’s carbon and ecological footprint.”
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