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Mount Everest, the world highest peak, and other peaks of the Himalayan range are seen through an aircraft window during a mountain flight from Kathmandu in January 2020.

REUTERS/Monika Deupala

Residents in the northern Indian state of Punjab say they’re seeing the Himalayas for the first time in decades while on coronavirus lockdown. 

Since India was put on lockdown in March to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, the country’s air quality has seen immense improvement. 

The air quality has increased because public transportation has stopped, fewer people are driving, and there’s less air traffic in the skies. 

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Residents in the northern Indian state of Punjab say they’re seeing the Himalayan mountain range for the first time in 30 years thanks to a drop in air pollution caused by the country’s coronavirus lockdown.

Indians have been sharing photos of the Himalayas on Twitter, saying the mountain range could be seen from more than 100 miles away.

There is no data revealing exactly when the region last saw the Himalayas, but residents said it had been at least three decades.

“This was the view from our rooftop at home in Punjab India. For the first time in almost 30 years could clearly see the Himalayas due to India’s lockdown clearing air pollution. Just amazing,” one person wrote.

“This is Dhauladhar mountain range of Himachal, visible after 30 yrs, from Jalandhar (Punjab) after pollution drops to its lowest level. This is approx. 200 km away straight,” another wrote.

According to CNN, the clear skies are a result of an improvement in air quality after Indians stopped using public transportation and airlines canceled flights amid the coronavirus pandemic.

 

The air quality in Jalandhar, where several photos of the Himalayas were taken, was measured as “good” for 16 of the first 17 days of India’s lockdown, which was put in place to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. The same 17-day period last year had zero days of “good” air quality.

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India has six of the top ten worst polluted urban areas in the world, according to data from IQAir AirVisual’s 2019 World Air Quality Report, and 21 of the top 30.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered a “total ban of venturing out” as part of his coronavirus lockdown, according to Reuters, with only essential businesses operating.

—चक्रवर्ती सम्राट (@Ndmodi2024) April 5, 2020

With no public transportation and fewer cars on the road, an air quality increase has been seen across the country, including in Delhi and Jalandhar.

Thanks to the low levels of pollution, South Asians are now posting jokes on Twitter about what they can see from their houses, including the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Statue of Liberty in New York, and Sydney, Australia’s, famous opera house.  

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