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Global Status of Air Pollutants under Pre and Post COVID-19 Lockdown Periods

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Air, Climate Change and Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 June 2023) | Viewed by 4996

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Botany, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh 202002, India
Interests: environmental pollution; plant-environment adaptation; phytoremediation
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Guest Editor
Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada
Interests: constructed wetlands; plant-bacteria interplay; microbial ecology; phytotechnologies; sustainability
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Guest Editor
Faculty of Engineering and Technology, Badr University in Cairo (BUC), Cairo, Egypt
Interests: environmental pollution; wastewater treatment; nanotechnology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Air is required by most species on Earth to survive, including human beings. However, most anthropogenic activities add highly toxic substances to the air and make it difficult to breathe. The major air pollutants include particulate matter (PM), black carbon, ground-level ozone (O3), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), nitrous oxide (N2O), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and carbon monoxide (CO). Owing to the rapidly increasing population, and the establishment of industries and transport types in mainly the most populous countries in the world, the quality of air is decreasing due to the heavy emissions of the aforementioned air pollutants.

Notably, the status of air pollution has been widely linked with the severity of respiratory/lung diseases, including COVID-19. Hence, in order to prevent the use of public transport, keep people in their homes and out of work, and maintain social distancing, nationwide lockdown measures were adopted. In turn, lockdown reduced air pollution (air pollutants and warming gases) in most cities/countries across the world. Despite these facts, literature describing the status of air pollutants in the world’s top megacities and the major populous countries of the world in pre and post COVID-19 lockdown periods (January/February/March 2020 to month/year with COVID restrictions) is scarce.

Given the above information, this Special Issue aims to compile original research papers, perspectives, and reviews that signify the following:

(i) Introduce the significance, composition and quality of air, and its relation with the COVID-19 pandemic;

(ii) Overview of the major contributors of air pollutants;

(iii) Enlighten the population and the transport loads in the world’s top 10 megacities and the major populous countries of the world;

(iv) WHO guidelines for six air pollutants, namely, CO, Pb, N2O, SO2, and the major particulate matters and volatile organic compounds in the world’s top 10 megacities and the major populous countries of the world;

 (v) Appraise recent literature on the status of CO, Pb, N2O, SO2, and the major particulate matters and volatile organic compounds in pre and post COVID-19 lockdown periods in the world’s top 10 megacities and the major populous countries of the world;

(vi) Critically discuss the overall scenario regarding the status of the major air pollutants in the world’s top 10 megacities and the major populous countries of the world;

(vii) Discuss the potential consequences of lifting the nationwide lockdown and the eventual normalisation of the temporarily halted industries and transport in the world’s top 10 megacities and the major populous countries of the world;

(viii) Topics/themes suggested by the potential contributors.

The outcomes of the discussion may be useful for further strengthening the ongoing policies for curbing air pollution, and would also provoke future studies on the subject.

Dr. Naser A. Anjum
Dr. Muhammad Arslan
Dr. Mohamed K. Mostafa
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • global air pollution
  • air pollutants
  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • populous countries
  • megacities

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

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19 pages, 6969 KiB  
Article
Remote Sensing Surveillance of NO2, SO2, CO, and AOD along the Suez Canal Pre- and Post-COVID-19 Lockdown Periods and during the Blockage
by Gamil Gamal, Omar M. Abdeldayem, Hoda Elattar, Salma Hendy, Mohamed Elsayed Gabr and Mohamed K. Mostafa
Sustainability 2023, 15(12), 9362; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15129362 - 09 Jun 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1482
Abstract
This study investigates the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ever Given ship blockage on the air quality in Suez Canal region. Nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), carbon monoxide (CO), and aerosol optical depth (AOD) were studied, [...] Read more.
This study investigates the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ever Given ship blockage on the air quality in Suez Canal region. Nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), carbon monoxide (CO), and aerosol optical depth (AOD) were studied, and data were obtained from satellite instruments. The study compared monthly average data for 2020, 2021, and 2022 with a baseline period of 2017–2019 to investigate the pandemic’s effect. The study also analyzed the corresponding period of the canal blockage to identify its impact on air pollution levels. The pandemic had a significant role in decreasing NO2 by 2.5 × 1014 molecule/cm2 and SO2 by 0.05 DU due to reduced car traffic and industrial activities. A reduction in AOD by 20% and CO concentration in the range from 3.5% to 4.7% was reported in early 2020. During the blockage, NO2 and SO2 levels decreased by 14.4% and 66.0%, respectively, while CO and AOD index increased by 12.68% and 51.0%, respectively. The study concludes that the containment measures during the pandemic had a positive impact on the environment, which shows how the reduction in the anthropogenic activities, especially industrial and transportation activities, have improved the air quality. Thus, stricter actions are needed to protect the environment; for example, the transition towards the using of electric vehicle is necessary, which is part of Egypt’s strategy to transition towards a green economy. The government should also adopt a policy to trade carbon emissions reduction certificates to help reduce air pollution. Full article
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Review

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18 pages, 10095 KiB  
Review
How Did the Pandemic Affect Our Perception of Sustainability? Enlightening the Major Positive Impact on Health and the Environment
by Ahmad Taha Khalaf, Yuanyuan Wei, Jun Wan, Samiah Yasmin Abdul Kadir, Jamaludin Zainol, Hua Jiang and Ahmed N. Abdalla
Sustainability 2023, 15(2), 892; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15020892 - 04 Jan 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2728
Abstract
Since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome COVID-19 virus 2 (COVID-19) virus disease 2 (SARS-CoV-2) on 9 January 2020, the entire world has been exceptionally interested in examining the impact of this pandemic on people and [...] Read more.
Since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome COVID-19 virus 2 (COVID-19) virus disease 2 (SARS-CoV-2) on 9 January 2020, the entire world has been exceptionally interested in examining the impact of this pandemic on people and the environment. The pandemic led to unprecedented measures to halt air traffic and close factories due to lockdowns, economic closures, and the stopping of transportation of all kinds. The decline in the use of coal by power plants, oil refining, and steel manufacturing had a beneficial effect on air pollution and caused a decrease in carbon dioxide emissions. Moreover, the concept of sustainability has become more prevalent, reflecting the increasing awareness of the responsibility placed on every member of society. Sustainability is the quality and quantity of change that meets our needs without destroying the giving planet, which is the hope for the survival of future generations. We summarized and discussed the studies and research documenting these effects on the environment and health worldwide to come up with objective conclusions, and to draw some recommendations and concepts about the importance of sustainability. The significance of this article lies in that it aims to briefly review some of the positive and negative impacts observed and reported during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic on health and the planet’s environment for the duration of April 2020–October 2022, and finally discuss the challenges and prospects to endorse planet sustainability. While COVID-19 had many beneficial effects on the planet’s recovery, there were also profound effects on health due to the disease itself. Government and policymakers must take measures to prevent this environmental healing process from being transient. Full article
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