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People across the country have reported spotting natural wonders because of the reduced air and water pollution, which is an outcome of the Coronavirus lockdown. A new study has reported a record drop in the CO2 emissions of India in the last two months. By Manya Saini

In a positive turn of events, the growth of clean energy and the ongoing lockdown due the novel Coronavirus has resulted in carbon emissions dropping by 15 per cent in March and 30 per cent in April. The study was conducted by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) led by researchers Lauri Myllyvirta and Sunil Dahiya.

 

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According to the analysis, the decline can be attributed to the reduced demand for coal, oil, and gas, due to which CO2 emissions fell by 30 million tonnes in the financial year 2019-20. There has been a sharp drop in the consumption of fossil fuels in industrial and power units in the last three months.

Significantly, a share of the credit has been given to renewable energy supply, the demand for which has held strong even as the pandemic hit the country. As per the report, in March the generation of renewable energy increased by 6.4 per cent.

Renewable energy sources like wind and solar, according to the report, have an advantage in India as it can offer far cheaper electricity than coal. It says that while coal-generated electricity costs INR 3.38 per kilowatt-hour, solar power costs INR 2.55 for the same. Investing in these is also in line with the agenda of the National Clean Air Programme launched in 2019.

 

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Environmental activists took to Twitter to celebrate the news and have urged the people and government to ensure that the positive impact of the lockdown transforms into long term change, and to ensure sustainability and harmony with nature.

Air Quality Index in many Indian cities, which was earlier declared hazardous has improved to an acceptable rate. Residents of many cities and towns like Jalandhar, Siliguri, and Sitamarhi have reported visibility of almost 200 km allowing them to see the mountain peaks of the Dhauladhar Range, Kanchenjunga, and Mt Everest, respectively, for the first time in decades.

Related: #SomeGoodNews: India Is Breathing Cleaner Air. Thanks To The Lockdown