The curfew also resulted in Delhi's power demand reducing by 40-45%, as offices, malls, railways and all commercial activities remained closed. (Representational Image)
With the national capital strictly observing the 14-hour ‘janata curfew’ Sunday, air pollutants such as particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) recorded a sharp dip.
The curfew also resulted in the city’s power demand reducing by 40-45%, as offices, malls, railways and all commercial activities remained closed. The peak demand load Sunday was 663 MW, while Friday's peak load was 1,198 MW, a Tata Power-DDL spokesperson said.
Particulate matter of 2.5 and 10 micrometres (PM 2.5 and PM 10), as well as NO2, primarily released by burning of fossil fuels and vehicular emission, remained under prescribed standards during the day.
Sharat Kumar Sinha, DCP (PCR) said, “We sent our teams to keep a check on the streets in 15 districts in Delhi. Only a handful of people violated the curfew. We advised them to go back to their houses. Roads were mostly empty and only a few people were out on their two-wheelers for work.”
Delhi Police handed out roses to those who violated the curfew, urging them to head back home. Kumar said, “Police personnel were deployed across 15 districts to guide people who violated the curfew. We gave them a red rose and encouraged them to stay indoors and respect the government's order. They listened to us.”
At 5 pm, in keeping with the Prime Minister’s suggestion, residents across the capital came out on their balconies and clapped or beat utensils to show their appreciation for those still carrying out essential services.
The average NO2 levels recorded in the city as of 6 pm Sunday, as per the Delhi Pollution Control Committee, was a little over 30 micrograms per cubic metre air (µg/m3), well under the prescribed standard of 80 µg/m3. This is the lowest average reading of NO2 in the city since the beginning of this month.
Data from eight out of 26 monitoring stations in the city showed that concentration of pollutants had been reducing since 7am and largely fell under prescribed standards after 12pm.
Experts also said that the average concentration of PM2.5 in the air between March 5 and 20 has reduced as compared to the previous two years.
As per an analysis by the Centre-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), in March 2018 and 2019, the average PM 2.5 concentration was 70 µg/m3, whereas this year it has been 50µg/m3. It also recorded a slight reduction in nitrogen oxide levels between March 8 and 13.
After 12pm on Sunday, the PM2.5 levels at the eight DPCC stations also began falling under the standard of 60µg/m3.
Police meanwhile registered cases against four gym owners in West Delhi and arrested two of them for violating the Delhi government issued showdown. Police said that the violators were operating their gyms despite government orders.
Two of the violators, Kanhaiya Lal and Vishal, residents of Punjabi Bagh, were arrested Sunday. Cases have been registered under IPC sections 188, 269 and 3 of Epidemic Diseases Act 1897.