In the News

July 13, 2020

Lockdown, Curfew Proved To Be Boon For Environment and Wildlife

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a positive impact on the environment in Chandigarh.
Nishu Mahajan

The COVID-19 pandemic which is sweeping the globe, causing a health crisis and threatening livelihoods at an alarming rate, has had an impact on the environment, albeit a positive one, at least in Chandigarh, if not globally.

French architect Le Corbusier’s aesthetically designed Ville Verte (green city)—Chandigarh witnessed clean skies and breathed clean air during the lockdown period in the months of March, April, May and even June when the first phase of unlocking the lockdown had begun. Not only this, the ever-increasing incidents of animal fatalities and man-animal conflicts also witnessed a steep decline in the city.

Every day during the lockdown period brought viral images and stories related to wild animals venturing out into human habitations in broad daylight and clear blue skies with pollution levels declining sharply. Undoubtedly, the narrative of nature healing itself brought a fleeting moment of cheer in Chandigarh.

Pollution in any form, whether it is air or water, poses an environmental risk to the health of the exposed population. In recent years, the effects of air pollution on health have been intensively studied and showed how it harms human health and particularly is harmful for those who are already vulnerable because of their age as children and older people or people with existing health problems. One such study concluded that the city residents may be losing up to 5.9 years of their lives due to exposure to severe air pollution. The air quality life index (AQLI), produced by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC) has stated that citizens in Chandigarh can live up to 5.9 years more on an average, if particulate concentrations in the city are at the level of 10 µg/m3(10 mili-micrograms per meter cube) which is deemed safe by the WHO. An analysis from 1998 -2016 has put the years of decrease in life expectancy due to changes in air quality at 3.1 years in Chandigarh.

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