AIR POLLUTION AND PUBLIC HEALTH IMPACTS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
- 1. University of Tirana, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Tirana
- 2. Polytechnic University of Tirana, Sheshi “Nene Tereza”, nr. 4, Tirane, Albania
- 3. Engineering and Natural Science Faculty, Konya Technical University, Konya, Turkey
Abstract: Industrial success often results in relatively high population densities and causes concomitant and sometimes synergistic air, water and soil pollution problems. Petrochemical plants, motor vehicles, metal processing industries and household heaters are just a few of the pollution sources that pollute the environment. Altogether, these problems are widely thought to be associated with high cancer deaths. Although many studies in the literature have examined the issue of changes in air pollutant levels during quarantine in different countries, few have focused on the impact of these changes on health risks. The study compared the 2020 period, which included quarantine (partial closure between March 16 - May 10 and October 30 - December 15), with previous years and the pandemic period to determine how these government-mandated quarantines affected concentrations. NO2, O3, PM2.5 and PM10 and how it affects human health factors including low birth weight, lung cancer, mortality, asthma, non-accidental mortality, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases have been determined. Air quality is important for health, although there are changes in the relative risks of health outcomes based on epidemiology. It was found that the relative changes in pollutant levels during the 2020 restriction period were as follows. Reductions in short-term risks were associated with reductions in PM2.5 (in pediatric emergency department visits for asthma during the second lockdown) and NO2 (in hospital admissions for respiratory causes). Long-term risk reductions related to PM2.5 include low birth weight, mortality rate and lung cancer, and NO2 has also been stated to be effective in mortality rate. WHO also stated that air pollution poses a major risk to the environment and health. Even more harmful to health is indoor air pollution in large urban areas. It is important to have correct ventilation systems in indoor environments, as particulate matter in aerosols can also harbor pathogens such as viruses and bacteria and therefore be easily transmitted. Air pollution is also one of the biggest challenges of our millennium, and some early studies have highlighted a positive correlation between air pollution and the spread of the virus. Therefore, it is crucial to define what role atmospheric particulate plays in the spread, morbidity, and mortality of the virus.