Himalayan peaks now visible from India’s Punjab as pollution drops drastically | The Daily Star
11:07 PM, April 09, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:23 PM, April 09, 2020

Himalayan peaks now visible from India’s Punjab as pollution drops drastically

For journalist Yogesh Kumar, who was standing on the roof of his house in Jalahandhar city in Punjab, it was a spectacle he had never seen before -- a crystal clear view of the snow-clad peaks of the majestic Dhauladhar range of Himalayan mountain chain.

"For a moment, I could not believe my own eyes. I quickly clicked the photographs with my mobile and shared it with my friends. Instantly, social media was flooded with photos of Dhauladhar range. From selfies to videos, we enjoyed every moment watching the grand mountains," said Yogesh, a news editor of a leading Hindi daily in Jalandhar.

Cricketer Harbhajan Singh too shared an image of the mountain range taken from his house on his Twitter account, writing that he could never imagine that it would be possible to see the Dhauladhar peaks from Jalandhar.

The air quality of Jalandhar, an industrial town of Punjab about 260 kilometres from the mountain range, has shown remarkable improvement.

This happened as all the industries and all modes of transport are suspended during the ongoing lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak across India, reports our New Delhi correspondent.

"I could clearly view the shimmer as the morning sun swept the Dhauladhar peaks," said Rajeev Bhaskar, a media consultant based in Jalandhar.

Yogesh said that in the past he could never spot the mountains through the thick haze that had hung over the sky over Jalandhar.

Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) Superintendent Engineer Sandeep Bahal said the Dhaulandhar range could be seen from Jalandhar because of the improved Air Quality Index.

"The air quality index of various cities, including Ludhiana, another industrial town of Punjab, has improved. People should understand that a clean environment and clear sky has given them a good quality of life within 10 days. It is our appeal to every industrialist, shopkeeper and layman to protect the environment and enjoy nature," Bahal said.

The development comes close on the heels of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) releasing a report saying the 21-day lockdown imposed since March 25 has resulted in significant improvement in air quality across the country.

However, the question on the minds of people like Yogesh and Rajeev is: why should it take a lockdown caused by a pandemic to improve the air quality?

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