As countries all over the globe are going into lockdown in an attempt to decrease the spread of the novel coronavirus and thus lift some of the strain from overworked healthcare workers at least a little bit, there are little rays of sunshine peaking up all over the world.

While some of those rays are quite metaphorical and present themselves as stories about people helping civilization as we know it to keep intact or helping doctors and other medical staff fighting the virus on the frontlines, others are quite literal as the skies are clearing up over places that usually face massive air pollution problems.

A week ago, the Indian government imposed a lockdown on the country to stop the imminent spread of coronavirus

Image credits: Hindustan Times

While a lot of major cities are facing pollution problems on some scale, India is probably more accustomed to that more than any other country. According to the IQAir AirVisual’s 2019 World Air Quality Report, 21 of 30 most polluted cities in the world are nowhere else but in India.

To everyone’s surprise, it brought along a very welcomed bonus and cleared up the skies

Image credits: Hindustan Times

The pollution dropped by 71% even in the capital city of New Delhi

Image credits: AFP

Since the Indian government imposed the biggest lockdown in the world a week ago in an attempt to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, citizens are asked to stay home and practice social distancing if it’s necessary for them to leave home. All the factories, markets, shops and even places of worship had to close temporarily. Most of the public transport was suspended, construction works were halted and the country was left in a temporary stillness it hasn’t seen in a long, long while.

It turned out to be a significant and long-awaited break from suffocating pollution levels and smog lingering over several places

Image credits: Veeresh Malik

The sudden clear blue skies are a major shift for India

Image credits: henry…

Data shows that main Indian cities are recording much lower harmful air pollutants that were mostly released by vehicles and power plants. In the capital city of New Delhi, the level of pollution plummeted as much as 71% during the first week of lockdown, as government data shows.

After all, 21 of the world’s most polluted cities are in the country

Image credits: Ninara

The world’s largest lockdown forced all factories, markets, shops and places of worship to close temporarily

Image credits: ben dalton

“I have not seen such blue skies in Delhi for the past 10 years,” said Jyoti Pande Lavakare, the co-founder of Indian environmental organization Care for Air, and author of the upcoming book ‘Breathing Here is Injurious To Your Health’. “It is a silver lining in terms of this awful crisis that we can step outside and breathe.”

The country has also suspended most public transportation and halted construction works

Similar climate changes were already welcomed earlier this year in Italy

Where air pollution levels dropped significantly over the course of a month

The lockdown resulted in major changes across the country, including one of its best known cities – Venice

Image credits: Marco Capovilla

Canals in Venice cleared up so much, it revealed all the fishes living in it

Image credits: Marco Capovilla

Similar changes were seen in China a couple of months ago

Visual storyteller Nicoco used this opportunity to photograph empty streets in Shanghai and the results were stunning

Image credits: nicoco

Image credits: nicoco

Image credits: nicoco

Image credits: nicoco

Image credits: nicoco