Volume XXI |

Associated impact of the COVID-19 induced lockdown on air quality of Kolkata Metropolitan Area (India)

Abstract: As a pandemic, COVID 19 spread worldwide in early 2020. Primarily densely populated countries had remained vulnerable due to this biological hazard. Many people were forced to stay home owing to nature of the disease and no respite. A nationwide lockdown was implemented in India for 29 days (March 24th to April 21st) of 2020 during the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the nationwide lockdown, industries, transport, and other commercial activities were suspended, except for necessary services. During the entire pandemic situation, an affirmative impact was observed as the air quality was reported to have improved worldwide. The complete economic lockdown to check COVID-19, brought unforeseen relief from severe condition of air quality. An apparent, reduction in level of PM2.5 and Air Quality Index (AQI) was experienced over Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, and Chennai. Present work explores the various metrics of air pollution in Kolkata, West Bengal, India (imposed as a result of containment measure for COVID-19). The polluting parameters (e.g., PM10, PM2.5, SO2, NO2, CO, O3, and NH3) were chosen for seven monitoring stations (Ballygunge, Fort William, Victoria, Bidhannagar, Jadavpur, Rabindra Bharati, Rabindra Sarabar), which are spread across the metropolitan area of Kolkata. National Air Quality Index (NAQI) has been used to show pre-and during-lockdown air quality spatial patterns. The findings showed major changes in air quality throughout the lockdown period. The highest reduction in pollutants emission was observed for: PM10 (-60.82%), PM2.5 (-45.05%) and NO2 (-62.27%), followed by NH3 (-32.12%) and SO2 (-32.00%), CO (-47.46%), O3 (15.10%). During the lockdown, the NAQI value was reduced by 52.93% in the study area.