The global spread of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has challenged most countries worldwide. It was quickly recognized that reduced activities (lockdowns) during the Coronavirus Disease of 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic produced major changes in air quality. Our objective was to assess the impacts of COVID-19 lockdowns on ground-level PM2.5, NO2, and O3 concentrations on a global scale. We obtained data from 34 countries, 141 cities, and 458 air monitoring stations on 5 continents (few data from Africa). On a global average basis, a 34.0% reduction in NO2 concentration and a 15.0% reduction in PM2.5 were estimated during the strict lockdown period (until April 30, 2020). Global average O3 concentration increased by 86.0% during this same period. Individual country and continent-wise comparisons have been made between lockdown and business-as-usual periods. Universally, NO2 was the pollutant most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. These effects were likely because its emissions were from sources that were typically restricted (i.e., surface traffic and non-essential industries) by the lockdowns and its short lifetime in the atmosphere. Our results indicate that lockdown measures and resulting reduced emissions reduced exposure to most harmful pollutants and could provide global-scale health benefits. However, the increased O3 may have substantially reduced those benefits and more detailed health assessments are required to accurately quantify the health gains. At the same, these restrictions were obtained at substantial economic costs and with other health issues (depression, suicide, spousal abuse, drug overdoses, etc.). Thus, any similar reductions in air pollution would need to be obtained without these extensive economic and other consequences produced by the imposed activity reductions.

Global air quality and covid-19 pandemic: Do we breathe cleaner air?

Gorjinezhad S.;Buonanno G.;Stabile L.;
2021

Abstract

The global spread of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has challenged most countries worldwide. It was quickly recognized that reduced activities (lockdowns) during the Coronavirus Disease of 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic produced major changes in air quality. Our objective was to assess the impacts of COVID-19 lockdowns on ground-level PM2.5, NO2, and O3 concentrations on a global scale. We obtained data from 34 countries, 141 cities, and 458 air monitoring stations on 5 continents (few data from Africa). On a global average basis, a 34.0% reduction in NO2 concentration and a 15.0% reduction in PM2.5 were estimated during the strict lockdown period (until April 30, 2020). Global average O3 concentration increased by 86.0% during this same period. Individual country and continent-wise comparisons have been made between lockdown and business-as-usual periods. Universally, NO2 was the pollutant most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. These effects were likely because its emissions were from sources that were typically restricted (i.e., surface traffic and non-essential industries) by the lockdowns and its short lifetime in the atmosphere. Our results indicate that lockdown measures and resulting reduced emissions reduced exposure to most harmful pollutants and could provide global-scale health benefits. However, the increased O3 may have substantially reduced those benefits and more detailed health assessments are required to accurately quantify the health gains. At the same, these restrictions were obtained at substantial economic costs and with other health issues (depression, suicide, spousal abuse, drug overdoses, etc.). Thus, any similar reductions in air pollution would need to be obtained without these extensive economic and other consequences produced by the imposed activity reductions.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11580/85294
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