Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription or Fee Access

Effects of Restrictions during COVID-19 on Air Quality in India: An Opportunity to Reshape the Earth

Misha Roy


The massive increase in the human population, rapid industrialization, and growth in technology has made our life comfortable and luxurious. However, it has come with the price tag of extreme exploitation of our planet earth. Our species have pushed the planet earth against its carrying capacity, damaging the earth’s own restoration capacity to filter the harmful pollutants. One of the outbreaks of this is air pollution. Chronic exposure to air pollutants weakens our lungs gradually making them vulnerable to various diseases and viruses such as SARS, MERS, and now the SARS-CoV-2. In this study, concentrations of six criteria pollutants, PM10, PM2.5, CO, NOx, ozone, and SO2 from 2018 to 2020 in 18 cities covering different regions of India were analyzed with a focus on the lockdown period. The result shows a sharp reduction in all the criteria pollutants with the enforcement of lockdown measures. In the national capital Delhi alone, the rapid decrease in particulate matter (108 µg/m3), NOx (31 µg/m3), and NH3 was observed with an increase in ozone concentration. The AQI has also improved from severe to moderate and good. This study proves the vision that by simple and strict implementation of regulatory measures, the earth can be allowed to be reshaped by passive restoration.


Air pollution, corona, COVID-19, passive restoration, pollution

Full Text:



Guo H, Kota SH, Sahu SK, Hu J, Ying Q, Gao A, et al. Source apportionment of PM2. 5 in North India using source-oriented air quality models. Environ. Pollut. 2017; 231: 426–436.

Guo H, Kota SH, Sahu SK, Zhang H. Contributions of local and regional sources to PM2. 5 and its health effects in North India. Atmos. Environ. 2019; 214: 116867.

Garaga R, Sahu SK, Kota SH. A review of air quality modeling studies in India: local and regional scale. Curr. Pollut. Rep. 2018; 4: 59–73.

Kota SH, Guo H, Myllyvirta L, Hu J, Sahu SK, Garaga R, et al. Year-long simulation of gaseous and particulate air pollutants in India. Atmos. Environ. 2018; 180: 244–255.

Becker S, Soukup JM. Exposure to urban air particulates alters the macrophage mediated inflammatory response to respiratory viral infection. J. Toxicol. Environ. Health Part A. 1999; 57: 445–457.

Cai Q-C, Lu J, Xu Q-F, Guo Q, Xu D-Z, Sun Q-W, Yang H, Zhao G-M, Jiang Q-W. Influence of meteorological factors and air pollution on the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome. Public Health. 2007; 121: 258–265. puhe.2006.09.023.

Horne BD, Joy EA, Hofmann MG, Gesteland PH, Cannon JB, Lefler JS, Blagev DP, Korgenski EK, Torosyan N, Hansen GI. Short-term elevation of fine particulate matter air pollution and acute lower respiratory infection. Am. J. Respir. Crit. Care Med. 2018; 198: 759–766.

Xie J, Teng J, Fan Y, Xie R, Shen A. The short-term effects of air pollutants on hospitalizations for respiratory disease in Hefei. China. Int. J. Biometeorol. 2019; 63: 315–326.

Xie J, Zhu Y. Association between ambient temperature and COVID-19 infection in 122 cities from China. Sci. Total Environ. 2020; 724: 138201.

Wu X, Nethery RC, Sabath BM, Braun D, Dominici F. Exposure to air pollution and COVID-19 mortality in the United States: a nationwide cross-sectional study. MedRxiv. Preprint. April 2020. DOI: 10.1101/2020.04.05.20054502.

Travaglio M, Yu Y, Popovic R, Selley L, Leal NS, Martins LM. Links between air pollution and COVID-19 in England. MedRXiv. April 2020. DOI: 10.1101/2020.04.16.2006740.

Roy M. Earth’s restoration: an opportunity to reshape the world after COVID-19. In: Bhattacharya (ed). Socioeconomic and Scientific aspects in COVID Environment. Indore, India: Ideal International E-Publication; 2020. 1–6.

Klimont Z, Kupiainen K, Heyes C, Purohit P, Cofala J, Rafaj P, et al. Global anthropogenic emissions of particulate matter including black carbon. Atmos. Chem. Phys. 2017; 17: 8681–8723.

Dang R, Liao H. Radiative forcing and health impact of aerosols and ozone in China as the consequence of clean air actions over 2012–2017. Geophys. Res. Lett. 2019; 46: 12511–12519.

Sharma S, Zhang M, Anshika, Gao J, Zhang H, Kota H. Effect of restricted emissions during COVID-19 on air quality in India. Science of the Total Environment. 2020; 728: 138878.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2021 Research & Reviews: Journal of Ecology

eISSN: 2278–2230