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Revisiting air quality during lockdown persuaded by second surge of COVID-19 of megacity Delhi, India
Urban Climate  (IF5.731),  Pub Date : 2022-01-06, DOI: 10.1016/j.uclim.2021.101082
Susanta Mahato, Swades Pal

Is the impact of city-scale lockdown in response to 2nd surge of COVID-19, behavioural changes in people owing to yearlong cohabitation with COVID-19, and partial vaccination on air quality different from the impact of nationwide lockdown during COVID-19's 1st surge in March 2020? Targeting this objective, the present work has selected four phases pre-lockdown and lockdown of 1st and 2nd cycles of lockdown taking average air quality index (NAQI) from Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). The results clearly show that both the nationwide lockdown and the city-scale restriction are responsible for improving air quality in India's megacity Delhi, but the rate of improvement was higher (39%) during the first cycle of lockdown (nationwide) than during the second cycle of lockdown (city-scale). During city-scale lockdown, the disparity in NAQI between the core and the periphery is obvious. Due to the effect of economic activities surrounding Delhi, around 10 km of the city's interior has experienced high NAQI. The reason for the lower NAQI improvement during the second lockdown cycle is likely due to relief from initial fear following a year of cohabitation with COVID-19, partial vaccination, and partial relaxation in industrial sectors to avoid the economic hardships experienced during the first lockdown cycle.