Himalayas are visible 125 miles away in India for 1st time in 30 years after coronavirus lockdown saw pollution plummet – The Sun

THE HIMALAYAS are now visible from India as the coronavirus pandemic led to a massive drop in pollution.

Residents have said the air has cleared amid the government’s 21-day lockdown to fight the outbreak, allowing them to see the towering peaks 125 miles away from Punjab for the first time in 30 years.

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Pollution levels across much of India – known its dirty air fueled by traffic and new industry – have dropped amid the quarantine.

Locals from the Jalandhar district in Punjab have taken to social media to show off incredible pictures of the snow-capped Himalayas.

The mountain-range is the world’s highest with elevations of up to 24,000ft and includes the world’s tallest peak, Mount Everest.

India has a population of around 1.3billion people have last year had the world’s most polluted cities, according to pollution monitors at IQAir.

The 21-day lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic has however seen cars taken off the roads and businesses out of operation.

And the decline in air pollution has coincided with the reappearance of the Himalayas.

Residents have claimed it is the first time they have seen the peaks, and thanked the improving air quality for the incredible view.

India's Central Pollution Board said the nationwide lockdown has resulted in significant improvement in air quality in the country.

The country has so far recorded 5,480 cases of coronavirus and 164 deaths as they brace themselves for the outbreak.

Former Indian cricketer Harbhajan Singh took to Twitter and said he had witnessed the Himalayas from his home for the first time ever.

He wrote: “Never could imagine that’s possible..clear indication of the impact pollution has done by us to Mother Earth.

“This is the view.”

He shared a picture in which could see the snow capped peaks on the hazy horizon.

Another snap shared showed the astonishing natural wonder looming in the distance.

The Twitter user, named TjSingh, wrote: “Himalaya mountains can be seen from Jalandhar since the pollution has reduced in Punjab.

“Beautiful sight.”

And another user, Abbu Pandit, shared a stunning snap – boasting he did not even need a zoom to capture the incredible image.

Worldwide there have been reports of air quality improving as nations grind to a halt to try and ride out the pandemic – which has infected more than 1.4million people and killed more than 82,000.

Local conservationist Sant Balbir Singh Seechewal said he had not seen the Himalayas from the area for 30 years.

He said: “We can see the snow-covered mountains clearly from our roofs. And not just that, stars are visible at night.

“I have never seen anything like this in recent times.”

He added: “Not just normal traffic is off the roads, but most industry is also shut down.

“This has helped bring the pollution level to unbelievably low levels.”

India for most the year records air pollution levels that are five times higher than the global safe limit set by the World Health Organisation.

Mr Seechewal said:"I had never imagined I would experience such a clean world around me.

“The unimaginable has happened. It shows nothing is impossible.

"We must work together to keep it like that."

Pollution does seem to be down in India with an Air Quality Index (AQI) report saying a massive decrease in pollution.

India Today reported that Indian cities had an AQI of up to 115 between March 16 and March 24.

The lockdown was then imposed on March 24.

And in just three days following the announcement, the air quality improved to 75.

An AQI of between 51 and 100 is deemed moderate, while a good AQI is when the figures drop to 50 or below.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi issued the lockdown which saw the closure of all non-essential businesses.

It also shut schools and universities and placed a ban on public gatherings in a bid to stop coronavirus.

Announcing the lockdown on March 24, he said: “To save India, to save its every citizen, you, your family… every street, every neighbourhood is being put under lockdown.

"The next 21 days are crucial for us… If we are not able to manage this pandemic then the country and your family will be set back by 21 years.

"This is in effect a curfew."

India’s lockdown has been described as the world’s biggest, with the health services braced for a tsunami of up to 300million cases.

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In an interview with the BBC after the lockdown, Dr Ramanan Laxminarayan, director of the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy, warned India was on the brink of a coronavirus catastrophe.

He said: "I think India is going to be the next hotspot for the epidemic without question.

"We are likely to see the same tsunami of cases that Italy or Spain have witnessed recently, or was earlier seen in China, in a few weeks."

He added: "You have to remember that transmission of disease is easier in India because of population density.

"So the disease is probably transmitting in the community and very quickly, remember every case generates two additional cases."

Meanwhile, China's infamous "snake village" has shut down amid the nationwide crackdown on the wildlife meat trade.

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