Lucknow: As all of Uttar Pradesh goes into a complete lockdown till March 27 in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, one particular group of people heaved a sigh of relief – environmentalists.
The lockdown, initially imposed in 17 districts on Monday, has now been increased to all 75 districts till Friday.
With transport activities coming to a standstill, the air quality index (AQI) in Lucknow improved to moderate levels at 135 points.
On March 21, a day before Janata Curfew, the AQI level here was recorded at 230. On Sunday, it stood at 175 points.
Experts said the dip in AQI level is directly proportional to the pollution caused by vehicles and nature seems to be making the most of this lockdown.
Dhruvsen Singh, a professor of the geology department at Lucknow University, said, “Coronavirus might be dangerous for the human race and might be spreading like a pandemic, but for nature, it is working like a healer. We are seeing efforts by humans to save and conserve environment for quite some time. But the result of a lockdown in the entire world is 100 times better than those efforts and it will definitely be a great boost for the environment. If we are able to observe such lockdowns once a month, the global environment can be preserved to a great extent.”
Singh said according to official data, there are more than 21 lakh vehicles in Lucknow and if all of them can stay off the roads, pollution level is bound to decrease. "Also, it will be a relief for people having respiratory issues and suffering from allergies," he said. "The lockdown is sure to minimise the effects of global warming as well.”
As part of restrictions in 15 districts, more than 10,000 vehicles were issued challlans for unauthorised movement and 645 vehicles were seized on Monday. Penalties worth more than Rs 22 lakh was also imposed, while FIRs were lodged against 224 people for violation of Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).