Behind the smokescreen: satellite data reveal air pollution increase in India’s eight most populous state capitals

A new report titled “Behind the Smokescreen” by Greenpeace India reveals that a year after initial nationwide lockdowns due to Covid-19, NO2 (nitrogen dioxide) pollution has increased in India’s eight most populous state capitals studied. Among Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata, Jaipur and Lucknow, Delhi saw the most dramatic increase between April 2020 and April 2021. NO2 is a dangerous air pollutant that is released when fuel is burned, as in most motor vehicles, power generation, and industrial processes. Exposure to NO2 can severely impact people’s health at all ages, including the respiratory and circulatory systems and the brain, leading to increases in hospital admissions and mortality.