Air Pollution Observations in Selected Locations in Poland during the Lockdown Related to COVID-19

Mariusz Rogulski, Artur Jerzy Badyda

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has caused huge changes in people’s daily habits and had a significant impact on the economy. The lockdowns significantly reduced road traffic and meant that many people worked remotely. Therefore, the question arose as to how the reduced road traffic and stays of residents at home affected the degree of pollution and the structure of major air pollutants. To answer this question, the article presents an analysis of changes in typical air pollutants (PM10, PM2.5, NO2) in the five largest Polish cities and one of the voivodships. The data from the Polish State Environmental Monitoring were used for the analysis. The analysis showed that the period of the first lockdown in Poland (April 2020), despite the reduced road traffic, resulted in a significant increase in PM10 emissions (9–91% during working days and an average of 30% on Saturdays and Sundays), a slight increase in PM2.5 emissions (on average from 2% to 11% for all analyzed locations), and a reduction in NO2 emissions (on average from 6% to 11% for all analyzed locations) compared to the period before the lockdown. However, the changes were not homogeneous—in Łódź and Warsaw, in most cases, an increase in all analyzed pollutants was observed, and the greatest decrease in pollution took place in Małopolska voivodship (including Kraków). Comparing the data from April 2020 to the data from April 2019, the overall difference in the PMs concentrations was small, although there are places where there has been a significant decrease (Wrocław, Poznań), and there were also places where the concentration increased (Warsaw, Łódź, Małopolska). In the case of nitrogen dioxide, pollution concentration decreased in most locations. The only exception was the background stations in Warsaw, where the increase was 27%.

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