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COVID-19 prevention, air pollution and transportation patterns in the absence of a lockdown.

Authors
  • Chang, Hung-Hao1
  • Meyerhoefer, Chad D2
  • Yang, Feng-An3
  • 1 Department of Agricultural Economics, National Taiwan University, No 1, Roosevelt Rd, Sec 4, Taipei, 10617, Taiwan. Electronic address: [email protected] , (Taiwan)
  • 2 College of Business, Lehigh University, Rauch Business Center, 621 Taylor St., Bethlehem, PA, 18015, USA. Electronic address: [email protected]
  • 3 Department of Agricultural Economics, National Taiwan University, No 1, Roosevelt Rd, Sec 4, Taipei, 10617, Taiwan. Electronic address: [email protected] , (Taiwan)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of Environmental Management
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Aug 10, 2021
Volume
298
Pages
113522–113522
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2021.113522
PMID: 34426221
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Recent studies demonstrate that air quality improved during the coronavirus pandemic due to the imposition of social lockdowns. We investigate the impact of COVID-19 on air pollution in the two largest cities in Taiwan, which were not subject to economic or mobility restrictions. Using a difference-in-differences approach and real-time data on air quality and transportation, we estimate that anthropogenic air pollution from local sources increased during working days and decreased during non-working days during the COVID-19 pandemic. This led to a 3-7 percent increase in CO, O3, SO2, PM10 and PM2.5. We demonstrate that the increase in air pollution resulted from a shift in preferred mode of travel away from public transportation and towards personal motor vehicles during working days. In particular, metro and shared bicycle usage decreased between 8 and 18 percent, on average, while automobile and scooter use increased between 11 and 21 percent during working days. Similar COVID-19 prevention behaviors in regions or countries emerging from lockdowns could likewise result in an increase in air pollution. Taking action to reduce the transmissibility of COVID-19 on metro cars, trains and buses could help policymakers limit the substitution of personal motor vehicles for public transit, and mitigate increases in air pollution when lifting mobility restrictions. Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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