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The impact of COVID-19 pandemic in Mediterranean urban air pollution and mobility

Sifakis Nikolaos, Aryblia Maria, Daras Tryfonas, Tournaki Stavroula, Tsoutsos Theocharis

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Year 2021
Type of Item Peer-Reviewed Journal Publication
Bibliographic Citation N. Sifakis, M. Aryblia, T. Daras, S. Tournaki, and T. Tsoutsos, “The impact of COVID-19 pandemic in Mediterranean urban air pollution and mobility,” Energy Sources Part A, early access, doi: 10.1080/15567036.2021.1895373.
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The pandemic has created opportunities which researchers, developers and planners should analyze, capitalize and adapt. How much COVID-19 restrictions affected air quality in Mediterranean tourism destinations? Was there a rebound effect during post-lockdown period? Which was the behavioral change concerning the urban mobility? Noteworthy changes in the air pollutants’ mean concentration on the ground-level have been experienced. The air quality was measured on the ground-level and reviewed concerning CO2, CO, NOx, and CH4 under various climate conditions. 5-min air quality and traffic load data were processed from different city spots in a Mediterranean tourism destination. The study examined the impact of State strategies on tackling the COVID-19 spread on both traffic load and air quality employing statistical methods. The obtained results show the lockdown period’s impact on improving air quality. Although there was a minor decrease, the mean CO2 levels were not significantly affected during the lockdown period. The mean NOx levels during the lockdown period were decreased by 32% compared to the same period in 2019; there is also a 10% decrease in the mean levels of NOx compared to the period before the lockdown. This study related four primary air pollutants (CO2, CO, NOx, and CH4), the total number of vehicles, and the total number of tourists. A rebound effect proved during the post lockdown period. The results and the methodology of this research work are replicable as confirmed by other studies for different cities.