Hashim BM, Al-Naseri SK, Al-Maliki A, Al-Ansari N
Sci Total Environ 754 (-) 141978 [2021-02-01; online 2020-09-01]
Covid-19 was first reported in Iraq on February 24, 2020. Since then, to prevent its propagation, the Iraqi government declared a state of health emergency. A set of rapid and strict countermeasures have taken, including locking down cities and limiting population's mobility. In this study, concentrations of four criteria pollutants, NO 2, O3, PM2.5 and PM10 before the lockdown from January 16 to February 29, 2020, and during four periods of partial and total lockdown from March 1 to July 24, 2020, in Baghdad were analysed. Overall, 6, 8 and 15% decreases in NO2, PM2.5, and PM10 concentrations, respectively in Baghdad during the 1st partial and total lockdown from March 1 to April 21, compared to the period before the lockdown. While, there were 13% increase in O3 for same period. During the 2nd partial lockdown from June 14 to July 24, NO2 and PM2.5 decreases 20 and 2.5%, respectively. While, there were 525 and 56% increase in O3 and PM10, respectively for same period. The air quality index (AQI) improved by 13% in Baghdad during the 1st partial lockdown from March 1 to April 21, compared to its pre-lockdown. The results of NO2 tropospheric column extracted from the Sentinel-5P satellite shown the NO2 emissions reduced up to 35 to 40% across Iraq, due to lockdown measures, between January and July, 2020, especially across the major cities such as Baghdad, Basra and Erbil. The lockdown due to COVID-19 has drastic effects on social and economic aspects. However, the lockdown also has some positive effect on natural environment and air quality improvement.