Shillong’s AQI drops by 20% amidst COVID-19 Pandemic

Shillong, May 7: Shillong has registered a drop by almost 20% in Air Quality Index, following the lockdown imposed due to COVID-19 Pandemic, Wanshan R Kharkrang, Environment Engineer of the State Pollution Control Board informed.

According to Central Pollution Control Board data, Shillong’s AQI, till 4 PM on Thursday, clocked in at 28 which falls in the “Good” Category. Prior to the lockdown, the capital would record satisfactory to moderate air quality.

Speaking to Shillong Mail, Kharkrang attributes the drop to reduced vehicular movement and industrial activity.

“The air quality has improved in the city of Shillong, and we can say that it has improved in the state as a whole,” he said.

“Other areas of the state, in the industrial area of Byrnihat as well, where there are industries on both sides, Assam and Meghalaya, because of COVID-19, industrial activity has gone down to almost zero so the drop in the air pollution level is considerable,” he added.

Further, Kharkrang said that no breathing problems due to air pollution are being reported.

The State Environment Engineer informed that the state has three air quality monitoring stations in Shillong and one in Byrnihat. The analysis is done through suspended particulate matter to measure PM 10 and PM 2.5 along with larger gases such as Nitrogen Oxides and Sulphur Dioxide.

He added that the level of Nitrogen Oxide, owing to fuel combustion, has also rapidly dropped due to controlled plying of vehicles.

Responding to a question on whether the state will record less carbon for the year, he said “If this kind of regulated movement of vehicles continue, 2020 will be one of the years that will be quite significant in the air quality from the positive angle because we have noticed less vehicular movement and burning of fossil fuels, there has been remarkable improvement in air quality.”

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