WEDNESDAY, Jan. 13, 2021 — Two types of air pollution declined in cities around the world during initial COVID-19 lockdowns, but one type increased, a new study finds.
Researchers assessed changes in levels of nitrogen dioxide, ozone and fine particulate (PM2.5) air pollution during lockdowns in 11 cities: Beijing and Wuhan in China; Milan; Rome; Madrid; London; Paris; Berlin; New York; Los Angeles; and Delhi, India.
After accounting for weather effects, the researchers found that reductions in nitrogen dioxide were smaller than anticipated, while ozone concentrations rose.
Nitrogen dioxide is a major air pollutant from vehicle emissions, and is associated with respiratory problems. Ozone is also harmful to health and damages crops, the study authors noted.
In addition, the researchers found that PM2.5 concentrations dropped during lockdowns in all cities but London and Paris. PM2.5 can worsen health problems such as asthma and heart disease.
The findings were published Jan. 13 in the journal Science Advances.
Lead author Zongbo Shi, a professor of atmospheric biogeochemistry at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, said the rapid reduction in economic activity provided a unique opportunity to study the impact of interventions on air quality.
“Emission changes associated with the early lockdown restrictions led to abrupt changes in air pollutant levels but their impacts on air quality were more complex than we thought, and smaller than we expected,” he said in a university news release.
Shi noted that weather changes can mask changes in emissions on air quality.
“Importantly, our study has provided a new framework for assessing air pollution interventions, by separating the effects of weather and season from the effects of emission changes,” he explained.
Study co-author Roy Harrison, a professor of environmental health, said that “the reduction in [nitrogen dioxide] will be beneficial for public health — restrictions on activities, particularly traffic, brought an immediate decline in [nitrogen dioxide] in all cities.”
Harrison noted that if similar restrictions had remained in place, annual average nitrogen dioxide levels in most locations studied would have complied with World Health Organization air quality guidelines.
© 2021 HealthDay. All rights reserved.
Posted: January 2021
Further Support and Information on COVID-19
- COVID case rates hit new high for England, study finds - April 7, 2022
- Govt’s focus on affordable healthcare ensured significant savings for poor, middle class: PM Modi - April 7, 2022
- SRL Diagnostics and Skye Air Mobility collaborate to transport pathology samples using drone logistics - April 6, 2022
- Healthineers sets up new production line of CT scanners in Bengaluru under PLI scheme - April 6, 2022
- Lupin inks licensing pact with Alvion to market drugs in Southeast Asia - April 6, 2022
- Yoga Mahotsav: Ayush Ministry to organise event to demonstrate common yoga on World Health Day - April 6, 2022
- LordsMed forays into the medtech space with launch of health ATMs ‘Lords Sehat’ - April 5, 2022
- ‘Friendly viruses’ can be the next big thing in the history of medical research and more - April 5, 2022
- No setback to Bharat Biotech even as WHO suspends Covaxin UN supply: Sources - April 4, 2022
- Govt panel recommends Serum’s Covovax dose for kids aged 12 and above - April 4, 2022