Impact of Lockdown on Indoor Pollution
- The lockdown had resulted into improvements in ambient air quality around the world but contrastingly PM2.5 exposures increased for 65% of Indians.
Who is affected the most?
- Women from the rural parts of the country have the highest levels of air pollution exposure.
- But it was due to the lockdown even the working-age men and school-going children have had the largest exposure increases.
What was the reason?
- Given the prevalence of biomass-fueled cookstoves including cow dung, firewood, coal and people being confined to stay indoors, air pollution exposure must have increased for any biomass-using household.
- Indian women, on average, spend 87-89% of their time indoors, compared to 71-73% for men.
- In several Indian states, the indoor PM2.5 concentration for houses using biomass is 2–20 times greater than the corresponding outside PM2.5 concentration.
- Due to people spending some time outdoors before to the lockdown, the time-weighted average exposure was noticeably lower.
- During the lockdown, more time was spent indoors since less time was spent outside, which increased exposure to biomass-fuel emissions.
- Working-age rural women have the greatest baseline PM2.5 exposures of any cohort, with average exposures of 175 ug m-3, primarily because of exposure to emissions associated to biomass cooking.
- Even though everyone was ordered to remain at home during the lockdown, the recent reports have discovered that working-age women continued to maintain the highest exposures (185 ug m-3).
- The other two demographic groups with the highest exposure were men of working age and children in school, whose average modelled exposures increased by 24% (from 88 ug m-3 to 108 ug m-3) and 18% (from 98 ug m-3 to 115 ug m-3), respectively.
Source The Hindu