With less pollution as a result of the coronavirus lockdown, the Himalayan mountains are finally visible from some parts of India. This is the first time in about 30 years that people in certain parts of India have been able to see these mountains.
The Himalayan range that is visible is called Dhauladhar Range, which translates to “White Range,” and many people have not witnessed this site in their skies during their whole lives.
Former Indian cricket player Harbhajan Singh posted the following tweet, saying that he never imagined that such sights would be possible from his house.
Anti-pollution activist Sant Balbir Singh Seeechewal told SBS, “We can see the snow-covered mountains clearly from our roofs. And not just that, stars are visible at night. I have never seen anything like this in recent times.”
India is one of the most populated countries in the world, with over a billion people, and 21 of the world’s 30 most polluted cities.
This is from Jalandhar. Dhauladar Range approx 200-250km pic.twitter.com/eHBdK3UW8x
— Aditya (@aapkaditya) April 5, 2020
CNN reported on government data which showed that there has been a massive reduction of pollution in India’s capital of New Delhi. The capital city has seen a 71 percent drop in the harmful microscopic particulate matter known as PM 2.5. Meanwhile, nitrogen dioxide, which typically comes from air and street traffic, has also fallen by 71 percent from 52 per cubic meter to 15.
Similar reductions in air pollutants have been observed in major cities like Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, and Mumbai. This type of rapid change has also been seen in China, Europe, and the United States.
The global economy may be crashing as a result of the coronavirus, but it appears that the slowdown of work and movement may actually be good for the environment. Sattelite images taken in the different parts of the world where there are intense quarantines have shown that there has been a drastic reduction of pollution in these areas. Of course, this has come at a massive cost to the human species, both due to the loss of lives experienced by so many and the extreme economic hardships to come.
The European Space Agency (ESA) released a timelapse video taken from space, which shows how drastically the air pollution has decreased in Italy during the recent lockdown. Claus Zehner, who manages the Copernicus Sentinel-5P, the satellite which took the photos over the Po Valley region, told the Independent that researchers are confident these changes are due to the reduction of activity at factories and on highways.
Satellite images from NASA show falling levels of nitrogen dioxide in the past two months, correlating with the massive factor and travel shut down that has been taking place throughout the country. Scientists with NASA say that the reduction in nitrogen dioxide was first noticed around Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak where the quarantine was first imposed.
Still, there is a very good chance that this change in the atmosphere will be short-lived because these quarantines will not last forever, and all environmental concerns will be thrown out the window when it’s time to get back to work.