The essence of a United Nations policy stated that nitrogen dioxide levels decreased by more than 70 percent during the Covid-19 lockdown in New Delhi. It has warned that if the cities reopen without adopting a policy of preventing air pollution and promoting carbon reduction, the environmental benefits will be temporary.
The UN Secretary-General's Policy Brief on 'Covid-19 in the Urban World' stated that, in an estimated 90 percent of cases of Covid-19, urban areas have become the epicenter of the global epidemic. It also pointed out that several new scientific studies show that poor air quality is correlated with higher Covid-19 mortality. The population of urban areas and the high level of global and local interconnection make them vulnerable to the spread of the virus.
In essence, pollution and greenhouse gas emissions may have decreased significantly while countries have halted their economy to prevent the virus from spreading, but these environmental benefits may be temporary if a policy of preventing air pollution and promoting carbon reduction is not adopted while reopening economies.
The abstract states that during the lockdown, nitrogen dioxide levels in New Delhi decreased by 70 percent, 40 percent in urban areas of China, 20 percent in Belgium and Germany, and 19–40 percent in various areas of the US.
It added that a slight increase in particulate matter is associated with an eight percent and 21.4 percent increase in mortality rates in the US and the Netherlands, respectively. New evidence shows the effect of maternal mortality on pregnant women and newborns as well. Especially among the population who are already under socio-economic stress due to being marginalized.
On the Covid-19 outbreak in informal settlements, Saar stated that in Mumbai, as of mid-April 2020, 30 percent of the demarcated areas were in slums while 60 percent of the areas were within 100 meters of informal settlements. In his message, UN chief Antonio Guterres said that the urban areas were the ground zero of the Covid-19 global epidemic from which 90 percent of the cases occurred.
He said, 'Cities are facing the brunt of the crisis - many of which are burdened with health systems, lack of adequate water and sanitation services and are facing other challenges. This is particularly the case with poor areas where the global epidemic has exposed inequalities at the root. '
"We have to work with the same urgency and take a pledge to change the cities and deal with the climate and pollution crisis," Guterres said. There is a need to think again and reshape the urban world.
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Tags : Environment