The town of Jalandhar in the state of Punjab in India has seen a nearly-miraculous transformation of its skyline. What used to be a smog-filled sky has now become a beautiful and clear view of the Himalayan Mountains.
Locals living in Jalandhar have remarked that this is the first time they have had a clear view of the Dhauladhar range of the Himalayan Mountains in decades.
Photos like the ones here have gone viral, showing a positive side effect of the shutdown of factories worldwide.
The Dhaulandhar range is 200 KM (125 Miles) to the north of the city. The only time they are somewhat visible is after it has rained, according to the Times of India.
Residents of the city have been overjoyed at seeing the natural beautiful of the Himalayas that has been impossible to see so clearly for so long. Thanks to the significant drop in air pollution, residents are taking to Twitter to show off the views.
“Never seen the Dhauladar range from my home rooftop in Jalandhar,” tweeted Harbhajan Singh. “Never could imagine that’s possible,” he wrote.
A Silver Lining
As of March 22nd, India has been in a lockdown unlike the nation has ever seen. Practically all 1.4 billion of its citizens were told to stay indoors. Consequently, the economy has come to a screeching halt.
With a nation-wide lockdown and curfew, there have been massive improvements in air quality. Up until that point, India had experienced some of the poorest air quality in the world, along with China.
Many are looking at what occurred in India as proof that the environment is significantly affected by human activity and industry. Satellite imagery over China, Italy, South Korea, and the UK has shown just how dramatic the drop in air pollution has been, according to The Guardian.
There are some significant consequences of shutting down the global economy on such a massive scale. However, we can see a global experiment playing out indicating just how large of an effect humans have on the environment. Perhaps this will lead to sweeping reforms that will ensure we can continue human progress. Maybe this can be done without it being at the expense of the one habitable environment we have.