A detailed study to generate the new normal baseline data has been carried out during nationwide lockdown (May 12 to May 16, 2020) covering sampling for ambient air, coastal water, coastal sediments, fish and bioaccumulation of heavy metals, in an around Alang, the world’s biggest ship recycling yard. The lockdown data were compared with 2018 and 2019 observed data. PM10 values during lockdown were reduced by 3.75 to 4.5 times as compared with previous 2 years. Similarly, four-fold reduction of PM2.5 and SPM values was observed during lockdown. The gaseous pollutants like NO2 and O3 are within safe limit. Overall air quality index (AQI) improved significantly during lockdown. Similarly, there was drastic reduction in the majority of the nutrient parameters in the coastal water. Different heavy metal concentration in the coastal sediments samples also showed strong reduction during lockdown sampling in comparison with other two sampling. This proves that the coastal environment has its efficient self-cleaning potentials if there is considerable reduction in the anthropogenic as well as industrial activities. Diversity of phytoplankton and zooplankton also increased. The results were validated using statistical techniques like analysis of variance and least significance difference (LSD). Supplementary Information The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s11356-021-12885-y.