Air quality improves due to lockdown
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister’s Advisor on Climate Change, Malik Aslam has said the world has observed improvement in air quality because it has linkages with industrial and transport emissions, which means willingness of people can change the air quality.
Addressing an online policy dialogue titled “COVID-19 and Air Quality” organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here, Malik Aslam said air pollution is a regional issue, so regional collaboration is the need of hour to overcome the issue and it’s time to talk about data gathering.
He said electric vehicles policy is in the offing and soon the country will start manufacturing from two wheelers and move to 3 and 4 wheelers.
To a question, he said consequences of lockdown for daily wagers may be very harsh, so the Ministry of Climate Change is considering engaging daily wagers with proper protective measures in tree plantations drives to make environment and people better simultaneously.
“We have started shifting to high quality fuel and now our focus is more on areas occupied with air pollution,” he said, adding that the government is working on installing 10 new modern stations for monitoring air quality in big cities.
SDPI Executive Director Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri said if we can close down our activities due to fear of pandemic, then we can also reduce our activities voluntarily post COVID-19 to make our air clean and breathable.
Discussing the damage done to environment due to increasing pollution, he said one positive aspect of COVID-19 is that nature is healing due to closure of factories and transport.
“We all know that climate change is no longer a natural phenomenon, but it is occurring due to human activities, which must be run under certain SOPs for which national policies need to be devised,” he maintained.
Prof. Gabriel Filippelli, Director, Center for Urban Health, Indiana University, USA said the pandemic has caused some substantial changes in human behaviour, like staying at home with minimal transport, and shutting down of factories.
In Indiana, he said, 90 per cent reduction in vehicle traffic has been observed, which improved the air quality. Similarly, in China particularly Wuhan, the shutdown of transport and factories improved the air quality, he maintained. – APP