THE IMPACT OF THE LOCKDOWN ON AIR QUALITY IN RESULT OF COVID-19 PANDEMIC OVER HUBEI PROVINCE, CHINA
Journal: Environment & Ecosystem Science (EES)
Author: Faisal Mumtaz, Yu Tao, Barjeece Bashir, Hamid Faiz, Mariam Kareem, Adeel Ahmad, Hammad Ul Hassan
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License CC BY 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infectious respiratory disease becomes a global pandemic in few weeks from its start in December 2019 to early 2020. Various countries across the world including China went to lockdown and several caution were implemented to reduce the further spread of this infectious disease. Wuhan (China) was the first city to impose the lockdown for controlling the impact of COVID-19. The lockdown unexpectedly gives the scientific community a chance to investigate the influence of the human activity on air pollution in real world scenario. The present study attempted to investigate the impact of lockdown during the ongoing viral disease on the changes of fine particulate matters and some unhealthy gases i.e. PM2.5, PM10, SO2, CO, O3, AQI and NO2 over Hubei province of China, by using ground station data and TROPOMI satellite data. The air pollutants were compared as, (i) pre COVID-19 period (i.e. October-December 2019), (ii) throughout the lockdown in Hubei province (i.e. January 2020-March 2020) and Post lockdown duration (i.e. April 2020-June 2020). Results clearly showed that air quality was not secured due to high emission of CO, SO2, NO2, O3, PM2.5, and PM10 on Pre COVID-19 times, but under the lockdown continuously decrease in NO2 from (54 mg/cm3 to 26 mg/cm3), SO2 (10.5 mg/cm3 to 7.77 mg/cm3) PM2.5 (49.22 mg/cm3 to 44.34 mg/cm3), PM10 concentrations (80.83 mg/cm3 to 57.04 mg/cm3) and AQI (72.95 mg/cm3 to 49.64 mg/cm3) has been observed. Because lockdown shuts all anthropogenic activities like industrial work, traffic vehicles and various socio-economic activities, which developed a healthy change on air quality. Emission of unhealthy gases and particulates were quite clear during the lockdown but again increase after finishing the lockdown period. However, we don’t support the lockdown as a measure for the betterment of air quality as this has severely posed negative impacts on the socio-economic processes and progress, but changes in human behavior of using industries and vehicles can help us to improve the air quality.