Himalayas Seen From Indian State Over 100 Miles Away as Air Pollution Plummets During Coronavirus Lockdown

Some residents in the Indian state of Punjab are reporting that parts of the Himalayas are now visible from their area amid the country's coronavirus lockdown, the first time in decades that this has been possible.

Many areas of the country have experienced a large drop in air pollution, like other parts of the world, since the world's largest lockdown, impacting 1.3 billion people, came into force toward the end of March

In fact, a report published by India's Central Pollution Control Board revealed that air quality in 85 cities across the nation had improved significantly since the beginning of the lockdown, with the roads largely empty of vehicles and non-essential businesses shut down.

"Data shows that on average, Indian cities had an AQI [Air Quality Index] of 115 between March 16 and 24," the report read. "The air quality started showing improvements from the first day of the 21-day lockdown. The average AQI fell to 75 in the first three days of the lockdown."

The drop in air pollution is notable in the country home to 21 of the world's 30 most polluted cities, according to the IQAir AirVisual's 2019 World Air Quality Report. One result of this reduction in air pollution is that blue skies are returning to areas where the air is usually muddied by pollution.

"I have not seen such blue skies in Delhi for the past 10 years," Jyoti Pande Lavakare, co-founder of Indian environmental organization Care for Air, told CNN. "It is a silver lining in terms of this awful crisis that we can step outside and breathe."

This effect is also particularly apparent in Punjab, which lies in the country's north, where most of the cities are now in the "green zone" according to the Central Pollution Control Board, Indian outlet The Print reported.

Amid these falls in air pollution, residents of the city of Jalandhar in Punjab have been posting images on social media showing the snow-capped peaks of the the Dhauladhar mountain range, part of the wider Himalayas, which lie farther to the north in the state of Himachal Pradesh, more than 100 miles away. Some locals even claimed that it was the first time they had seen these peaks from this area.

The Dhauladhar Mountain Range
Stock photo: The Dhauladhar Mountain Range, Himachal Pradesh, India. iStock

"Never seen Dhauladar range from my home rooftop in Jalandhar..never could imagine that's possible..clear indication of the impact the pollution has done by us to Mother Earth .. this is the view," one Twitter user @harbhajan_singh posted.

The Himalayas are a mountain range in Asia that contains many of the world's highest peaks, including Mount Everest.

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Himalayas Seen From Indian State Over 100 Miles Away as Air Pollution Plummets During Coronavirus Lockdown | Tech & Science