For more than a generation, the Himalayas, the highest mountains in the world, have been shrouded in pollution, hiding the peaks from all but a few. Residents in the city of Punjab, which sits only about 124 miles from the mountains, are taking to social media to share their pictures of the magnificent mountains. With most of India under a Coronavirus lockdown, many younger Indians are getting to see the peaks for the first time. The view is breathtaking. The beautiful photos illustrate the news that breathable air quality in India has improved drastically. During the first 17 days of the shutdown, 16 days were measured as having “good” air quality, while the same 17 days last year did not contain a single day at that rating. Poor air quality is a threat to public health all over the world, causing some to become more vulnerable to respiratory diseases like the Coronavirus. Like many of the environmental stories emerging during the current crisis, this new vision of the Himalayas in clear skies proves that it is possible to change the world. Better air quality and less pollution is achievable, even when we do not have a virus to fear.

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