Air Quality And Covid-19:
For the first time, a pan-India study has found a direct correlation between air pollution and Covid-19.
- The study found that areas with poor air quality and higher emissions of particulate matter (PM) 2.5 are more likely to have Covid-19 infections and related deaths.
- The study was conducted by scientists from various universities such as Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune, National Institute of Technology Rourkela; Indian Institute of Technology, Bhubaneswar.
- It was partially funded by the Ministry of Earth Sciences, the Government of India.
The study involves three kinds of data sets—
- National Emission Inventory (NEI) of PM2.5 for 2019, developed by the scientists;
- Number of Covid-19 positive cases and corresponding death as of 5th November, 2020.
- The study titled ‘Establishing a link between fine particulate matter (PM2.5) zones and Covid-19 over India based on anthropogenic emission sources and air quality data’ dealt with how people living in highly polluted areas are more vulnerable to coronavirus infections.
- The regions using huge amounts of fossil fuels such as petrol, diesel and coal by combustion in transport and industrial activities also experience a far higher number of Covid-19 cases.
- For Example, the highest numbers of Covid-19 cases are found in States like Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Gujarat, where exposure to the prolonged high concentration of PM2.5 is relatively high, especially in the cities, due to overuse of fossil fuel.
- Mumbai and Pune are among hotspots where high air pollution from the transport and industrial sectors is related to a higher number of Covid-19 cases and deaths.
- There is also evidence that the novel coronavirus sticks to fine particles like PM2.5 allowing them to move from one part to another by making the airborne transmission of Covid-19 more effective.