Pune: As citizen movement was restored in the city after relaxations were given from lockdown under Unlock 1.0 phase of Mission Begin Again, the air pollution levels in the city have also increased slightly. The particulate matter levels in the ambient air recorded by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) and Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) reflect this change in air quality from good to satisfactory – during and after the lockdown in the city.
Lockdown was imposed in the city from last week of March. Since then citizen and vehicular movement were prohibited in the city. As a result, pollution levels had dropped considerably. Since only essential services were allowed during the lockdown the ambient air quality in the city was recorded as ‘good’. This started changing when in the first week of June, the state government and Pune Municipal Corporation gave permissions to some businesses and activities as a part of Unlock 1.0 phase of the Mission Begin Again. The air pollution level has slightly increased due to these activities being restored.
The MPCB has recorded air quality between 51 to 100 µg/m³ in the period of June 23 to 30. The IITM through the location-specific air quality information provider system ‘System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research’ (SAFAR) has observed that the rainfall during this period also helped to keep the pollution levels down. Scientists of IITM are studying the exact reasons behind this phenomenon.
Gufran Baig, Scientist, Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology said, “Observations by the SAFAR system has revealed that the PM2.5 and Nitrogen Oxide levels in several cities had dropped due to rainfall on some days of June month. However, the exact reason behind this is not known yet. IITM is studying this phenomenon.”
Air Quality in Pune- Particulate Matter (PM) 2.5 level (µg/m³)
June 23: 45
June 24: 79
June 25: 79
June 26: 82
June 27: 79
June 28: 80
June 29: 76
June 30: 79
(Source: Maharashtra Pollution Control Board)