CORONA EFFECT AND EARTH DAY


 Corona Effect and Earth Day

Rajesh Deoliya

Key Words: Earth Day, Corona Effect, Environment, CPCB

_________


The 50th Earth Day (https://www.earthday.org/earth-day-2020/) coincides Novel Corona virus hit worldwide epidemic, making this Earth Day special one where human activities are stand still and fear for survival is prime. The large scale confinement and lockdown has affected day to day life. Probably first time in history, mankind is fighting a battle for survival. Absence of  solid information about enemy is making remedial tasks further complicated. The Earth Day is a holistic annual event to pay attention about the deteriorating environment leading to climate change. The first Earth Day was celebrated on 22nd April,1970 to spread the awareness about the conservation of environment. It lead the creation of "Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), environmental laws, laws related to the clean air and water. (https://www.epa.gov/ )


In general, the Earth Day is considered as a celebration for protection of environment while it should raise more pragmatic concerns about the betterment of environment. The protection of environment is more than the rally's and poster competitions. In that way Earth Day fails in its objectives. When we are drifting away from nature the efforts on Earth Day must have more efforts to bring human beings close to nature. Failing which, the Pre Earth Day's and Post Earth Day's concerns are alike. The depletion of natural resources, poor air and water quality, increasing gaseous emissions and climate change is making planet earth virtually unlivable. Agonies are that the post earth day era could not stop climate change, environmental degradation processes.


When we talk about the clean air and water then we cannot ignore the "CORONA EFFECT" on environment as this year's Earth Day coincides worldwide with the lockdowns coupled with the closure of the industrial activities for considerable time. The emissions are reduced and vehicular traffic too. The Corona has contributed more to reset the environment than the cumulative efforts of 50 years by Earth Day activists. The CNBC in its report stated that the canals in Venice, Italy have clean water due to the absence of canal boat activities (https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/18/photos-water-in-venice-italys-canals-clear-amid-covid-19-lockdown.html )


In India, reports are indicating  that the Ganga river in its many stretches is flowing with clean water particularly near Haridwar town. This happened due to limited discharge of sewage and industrial waste in the river due to lockdown. The COD and BOD of water are improving. The data compiled from the websites of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), India (https://www.cpcb.nic.in/) shows that during lockdown period air quality shows decrease in the concentrations of Particulate Matter 2.5 and 10, Nitrogen Dioxide(NO2) , Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) and Carbon Monoxide (CO) making it good for use of living creatures. Particulate Matters, NO2, SO2 and CO if present in more than the desirable limit in the air, affect lungs and breathing. For the understanding of the effect of lockdown on Ambient Air Quality (AAQ) the data available from CPCB was studied for various important Indian cities for dates 30.03.2019, 30.03.2020 and 13.04.2020 avoiding holiday dates. The data in the table shows considerable decrease in the PM2.5, PM10, NO2, SO2 and CO but it is still on the upper fringe of the desirable / accepted norms. The Cities of Delhi, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad show reduction in the particulate matter concentration while Chennai is stable and Mumbai shows little fluctuation in the concentration of particulate matter. The concentration of Carbon Monoxide is also reduced during lock down period. The values of NO2 and SO2 seems to have some error of recording as these values are not showing reduction in line with the particulate matter which is not logical. Rather these value are either stable or shows abnormal fluctuations. Anyway, it is for sure that the lock down has improved the quality of air. The lower contamination must have helped the corona patients to resist the virus effect. Although the air and water quality improvement seems to be for short period but we know that through the lock down type mechanism earth's environment can be repaired.



 City
Date of Observation
AAQ
PM 2.5
PM 10
NO2
SO2
CO


 (µ / m3)
 (µ / m3)
 (µ / m3)
 (µ / m3)
 (µ / m3)
(mg/m3)
Delhi
30 March,2019
209
191
209
32
NA
83
(IGI Airport)
30 March,2020
51
43
51
NA
NA
30

13 April,2020
122
122
111
NA
NA
32








Mumbai
30 March,2019
97
48
97
8
37
73
(Bandra)
30 March,2020
55
24
55
21
31
48

13 April,2020
79
31
79
6
30
48








Chennai
30 March,2019
24
24
NA
23
7
46
(Alandur Bus Depot)
30 March,2020
41
41
NA
11
10
15

13 April,2020
23
23
NA
26
4
23








Ahmedabad
30 March,2019
195
195
NA
78
19
36
(Maninagar)
30 March,2020
81
45
81
42
20
13

13 April,2020
61
27
61
25
32
18








Hyderabad
30 March,2019
131
84
131
61
8
35
(Central University)
30 March,2020
55
34
55
2
2
13

13 April,2020
60
48
60
37
6
16

(Source: Central Pollution Control Board)
Figures in table are average numbers

                                                                                                                                                                 Rajesh Deoliya





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Comments

P K Dwivedi said…
This unprecedented situation has given us opportunity to take pause, think and learn from the nature. Well researched thughtful post.
Dr. Kumkum Mishra, Environmentalist said…
Earth Day this year (2020) is a real earth day in a true manner as every component which constitute the earth I.e. water, air, soil, vegetation, living beings has revived itself to a great extent.
Although, entire world (human community) is suffering from this corona pandemic-an invisible disease, yet our mother earth is healing up in every bit.
As far as water quality is concerned, all the rivers and streams are recovering to their basic characteristics. River Ganga water is found fit for drinking purpose in Rishikesh-Haridwar district as per CPCB. Apart from that most of the rivers have attained a better quality in different stretches doe to lower domestic input as well as complete industrial lockdown. Similar reports were observed from Venice city of Totally with improved water quality due to restricted boating activities.
Rivers have been rejuvenated during this Corona Effect...What we could not achieve even after investing a lot of money, time and efforts in various government/non-government schemes such as Namami Gange and Yamuna Bachao.
Moreover, now we are able to observe..Clean roads, Clear Skies with stars at night, Self-purified Air, More greenery, Chirping of birds and last but not the least..Developing a close bond among human being to fight against this CORONA.
Thanks for your comments. The concern raised by you is genuine and combined efforts will help us in making a good future - a green one. Hope the habits of man kind will change to achieve better world. The Corona Effect has displaced that if wished then it is possible to rejuvenate environment.
By corona effect one lesson teached by nature to us, how to control nature himself his resources.
Dr. Pandey said…
Dear Rajesh Bhai,
Good article.
You are very right that like the other Token days, Earth day has also proved meaningless .You are again quite right that water quality of river Ganga has improved remarkably near Haridwar. At least for a while, potential improvement has also been observed in air quality across the world.
As always,data given by the CPCB for air quality is seems to be incomplete and incorrect . If data given in the table are true, anomalies in the observed values of PM 2.5 during 30th March 20 and 13th April 20 be explained by the CPCB authorities. Probably, AAQ given in the table (in µ / m3) would be AQI (with no unit).
Moreover " Noise", an important factor of pollution should also be taken in to account during Corona period with reference to improvement of biodiversity of aquatic and wild life.
Best wishes,
Subhash
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