Impact of reduced anthropogenic emissions during COVID-19 on air quality in India
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Abstract. To mitigate the impacts of the pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Indian government implemented lockdown measures on 24 March 2020, which prohibited unnecessary anthropogenic activities, thus leading to a significant reduction in emissions. To investigate the impacts of this lockdown measure on air quality in India, we used the Community Multi-Scale Air Quality (CMAQ) model to estimate the changes of key air pollutants. From pre-lockdown to lockdown periods, improved
... air quality is observed in India, indicated by the lower key pollutant levels such as PM2.5 (−26 %), maximum daily 8 h average ozone (MDA8 O3) (−11 %), NO2 (−50 %), and SO2 (−14 %). In addition, changes in these pollutants show distinct spatial variations with the more important decrease in northern and western India. During the lockdown, our results illustrate that such emission reductions play a positive role in the improvement of air quality. Significant reductions of PM2.5 concentration and its major components are predicted, especially for secondary inorganic aerosols that are up to 92 %, 57 %, and 79 % for nitrate (NO3-), sulfate (SO42-), and ammonium (NH4+), respectively. On average, the MDA8 O3 also decreases 15 % during the lockdown period although it increases slightly in some VOC-limited urban locations, which is mainly due to the more significant reduction of NOx than VOCs. More aggressive and localized emission control strategies should be implemented in India to mitigate air pollution in the future.