Topic Editors

The Climate and Environmental Research Institute NILU, P.O. Box 100, 2027 Kjeller, Norway
Faculty of Environmental Engineering and Food Science, Valahia University of Târgoviste, 130004 Dambovita, Romania

New Perspectives regarding COVID-19’s Impact on Environmental Health and Urban Sustainability

Abstract submission deadline
closed (31 October 2023)
Manuscript submission deadline
closed (31 December 2023)
Viewed by
4106

Topic Information

Dear Colleagues,

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about disruptive changes in our society. The protective measures imposed by governments led to changes in our daily lives that affected individual behavior and all of society, businesses, and public agenda. There were significantly increased demands for ecosystem services, such as those provided by urban green areas. Some of these developments have already been studied—most importantly, environmental quality.

Many cities have implemented measures with direct or indirect consequences for environmental quality, and have defined roadmaps for the implementation of zero-emission strategies consistent with the goals of the European Green Deal. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed drawbacks and shortcomings of some of these policies, and has served to identify new requirements for sustainable urban development. Several collaborative platforms have been created to learn from the COVID-19 pandemic and promote changes to help accelerate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

During the 2020–2022 period, a large number of studies on the impact of COVID-19 pandemic restriction measures have been produced by scientists and by other stakeholders. This body of information provides valuable insights about the observed environmental and health impacts, lessons learned from the COVID-19-related restriction experiences on urban sustainability and urban planning, and about methods to study this unfortunate natural experiment.

In this Topic, we consider European and global studies related to COVID-19, environmental stressors, environmental health, and urban sustainability. We welcome contributions related to:

  • COVID-19 restrictions and environmental quality (air, water, noise, waste, etc.);
  • Health, wellbeing, and COVID-19;
  • COVID-19 and urban sustainability (e.g., lessons learned from COVID-19 for urban sustainability policies, changes in urban policies derived from lessons learned under COVID-19);
  • COVID-19, urban morphology, and the compact city;
  • COVID-19 and SDGs.

Dr. Hai-Ying Liu
Prof. Dr. Daniel Dunea
Topic Editors

Keywords

  • built environment
  • environmental quality
  • environmental stressors
  • COVID-19
  • health and wellbeing
  • mental health
  • urban morphology
  • urban planning
  • urban sustainability

Participating Journals

Journal Name Impact Factor CiteScore Launched Year First Decision (median) APC
Environments
environments
3.7 5.9 2014 23.7 Days CHF 1800
Sustainability
sustainability
3.9 5.8 2009 18.8 Days CHF 2400
Toxics
toxics
4.6 3.4 2013 14.7 Days CHF 2600

Preprints.org is a multidiscipline platform providing preprint service that is dedicated to sharing your research from the start and empowering your research journey.

MDPI Topics is cooperating with Preprints.org and has built a direct connection between MDPI journals and Preprints.org. Authors are encouraged to enjoy the benefits by posting a preprint at Preprints.org prior to publication:

  1. Immediately share your ideas ahead of publication and establish your research priority;
  2. Protect your idea from being stolen with this time-stamped preprint article;
  3. Enhance the exposure and impact of your research;
  4. Receive feedback from your peers in advance;
  5. Have it indexed in Web of Science (Preprint Citation Index), Google Scholar, Crossref, SHARE, PrePubMed, Scilit and Europe PMC.

Published Papers (4 papers)

Order results
Result details
Journals
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:
15 pages, 1725 KiB  
Article
Analyzing COVID-19 and Air Pollution Effects on Pediatric Asthma Emergency Room Visits in Taiwan
Toxics 2024, 12(1), 79; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics12010079 - 17 Jan 2024
Viewed by 816
Abstract
(1) Background: An asthma exacerbation that is not relieved with medication typically requires an emergency room visit (ERV). The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic began in Taiwan in January of 2020. The influence of the COVID-19 pandemic on pediatric ERVs in Taiwan was [...] Read more.
(1) Background: An asthma exacerbation that is not relieved with medication typically requires an emergency room visit (ERV). The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic began in Taiwan in January of 2020. The influence of the COVID-19 pandemic on pediatric ERVs in Taiwan was limited. Our aim was to survey pediatric asthma ERVs in the COVID-19 era; (2) Methods: Data were collected from the health quality database of the Taiwanese National Health Insurance Administration from 2019 to 2021. Air pollution and climatic factors in Taipei were used to evaluate these relationships. Changes in the rates of pediatric asthma ERVs were assessed using logistic regression analysis. Poisson regression was used to evaluate the impact of air pollution and climate change; (3) Results: The rate of pediatric asthma ERVs declined in different areas and at different hospital levels including medical centers, regional and local hospitals. Some air pollutants (particulate matter ≤ 2.5 µm, particulate matter ≤ 10 µm, nitrogen dioxide, and carbon monoxide) reduced during the COVID-19 lockdown. Ozone increased the relative risk (RR) of pediatric asthma ERVs during the COVID-19 period by 1.094 (95% CI: 1.095–1.12) per 1 ppb increase; (4) Conclusions: The rate of pediatric asthma ERVs declined during the COVID-19 pandemic and ozone has harmful effects. Based on these results, the government could reduce the number of pediatric asthma ERVs through healthcare programs, thereby promoting children’s health. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

12 pages, 266 KiB  
Article
From Global Health to Global Warming: Tracing Climate Change Interest during the First Two Years of COVID-19 Using Google Trends Data from the United States
Environments 2023, 10(12), 221; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments10120221 - 13 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1086
Abstract
Climate change mitigation depends on actions that affect the public interest and lead to widespread changes in public attitudes and behavior. With the global outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, humanity faced a more imminent threat to its well-being and viability. This retrospective cross-sectional [...] Read more.
Climate change mitigation depends on actions that affect the public interest and lead to widespread changes in public attitudes and behavior. With the global outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, humanity faced a more imminent threat to its well-being and viability. This retrospective cross-sectional study examines how public interest in climate change was attenuated by the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic using Google Trends Search Volume Index (SVI), weather, and climate data on a United States state-level basis during the first two years of the pandemic from 2020 to 2022. To identify channels through which the COVID-19 pandemic affected information demand on climate change, a novel fixed effect regression model of public climate change interest was developed. The measure captures changes in the climate change SVI independent of weather and climate conditions, comprising pandemic-related changes in living circumstances such as COVID-19-related cases and deaths, mask mandates, and the proportion of the vaccinated population. Our results indicate that public interest in climate change was systematically attenuated by the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, this study provides an approach for identifying drivers of public interest in climate change. Full article
14 pages, 1166 KiB  
Article
Home Greenery: Alleviating Anxiety during Lockdowns with Varied Landscape Preferences
Sustainability 2023, 15(21), 15371; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152115371 - 27 Oct 2023
Viewed by 686
Abstract
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries applied lockdown rules to flatten their epidemic curves. Meanwhile, many people suffered mental health crises. However, evidence is lacking on the psychologically restorative effects of home greenery for citizens with varying landscape preferences when public green spaces [...] Read more.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries applied lockdown rules to flatten their epidemic curves. Meanwhile, many people suffered mental health crises. However, evidence is lacking on the psychologically restorative effects of home greenery for citizens with varying landscape preferences when public green spaces are unavailable. In Xi’an, China, during the December 2021 lockdown period, a questionnaire on residents’ anxiety, houseplants and green view from windows, and landscape preferences was designed by the authors and sampled by snowballing. Houseplants and green view from windows were positively associated with anxiety remission (p < 0.05), and the effects were different among landscape preferences. The houseplants helped to alleviate moderate and severe anxiety among respondents who preferred open green spaces and partly open green spaces. Visual exposure to Urban Green Spaces through windows alleviated mild anxiety in respondents who preferred open green spaces. It also alleviated mild, moderate, and severe anxiety in respondents who preferred partly open green spaces. More visual exposure to Urban Green Spaces via windows alleviated mild, moderate, and severe anxiety in respondents who preferred partly open blue spaces. When cities are at risk of pandemics, or in places where incapacitated people are living, distributing indoor plants to households presents a quick approach to helping mitigate anxiety and increasing green cover in residential areas will improve sustainability. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

18 pages, 5550 KiB  
Article
A Three-Year Analysis of Toxic Benzene Levels and Associated Impact in Ploieşti City, Romania
Toxics 2023, 11(9), 748; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics11090748 - 02 Sep 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1021
Abstract
This study examines the levels of benzene and the potential health impact during three years of continuous monitoring (2019–2021), including the COVID-lockdown period from 2020 in a city that is an important Romanian center for petroleum refining and associated product manufacturing. The dataset [...] Read more.
This study examines the levels of benzene and the potential health impact during three years of continuous monitoring (2019–2021), including the COVID-lockdown period from 2020 in a city that is an important Romanian center for petroleum refining and associated product manufacturing. The dataset contains benzene, toluene, NOx, PM10 concentrations, and meteorological factors monitored by six automatic stations from the national network of which four are in the city and two outside. Special attention was given to the benzene dynamics to establish patterns related to the health impact and leukemia. An assessment of the exposure was performed using EPA’s ExpoFIRST v. 2.0 for computing the inhalation Average Daily Dose (ADD) and Lifetime Average Daily Dose (LADD). The health impact was estimated based on several indicators such as lifetime cancer risk (LCR), Hazard Quotient (HQ), Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALY), and Environmental burden of disease (EBD). Overall, the annual average of all stations was almost similar between years i.e., 3.46 in 2019, 3.41 in 2020, and 3.63 µg/m3 in 2021, respectively. The average of all stations during the lockdown period was 2.67 µg/m3, which was lower than the multiannual average of the 2019–2021 period, i.e., 3.5 µg/m3. Significant correlations were present between benzene and other pollutants such as NOx (r = 0.57), PM10 fraction (r = 0.70), and toluene (r = 0.69), and benzene and temperature (r = −0.46), humidity (r = 0.28), and wind speed (r = −0.34). Regarding the ADD, in all scenarios, the most affected age categories are small children, despite a lower outdoor exposure time. From birth to <70 years, the ADD varied depending on the exposure scenario resulting in 3.27 × 10−4, 5.6 × 10−4, and 4.04 × 104 mg/kg-day, and 3.95 × 10−4, 10.6 × 10−4, and 6.76 × 10−4 mg/kg-day for the LADD, respectively. The Integrated Lifetime Cancer Risk (ILTCR) values were 14.1 × 10−5 in winter, 9.04 × 10−5 in spring, 8.74 × 10−5 in summer, and 10.6 × 10−4 in autumn. The ILTCR annual averages were 1.08 × 10−4 (2019), 1.07 × 10−4 (2020), 1.04 × 10−4 (2021), and 1.06 × 10−4 for the entire period. The resulting ILTCR values point out very risky conditions, with the annual averages reaching the definite cancer risk category. The corresponding burden based on the DALY’s loss due to leukemia in Ploieşti was estimated at 0.291 (2 μg/m3 benzene), 0.509 (3.5 μg/m3 benzene), 0.582 (4 μg/m3 benzene), and 0.873 DALYs per 100,000 inhabitants (6 μg/m3 benzene), respectively. The current study provides useful insights for a better understanding of the exposure levels to benzene and associated health impact in Ploieşti despite the limitations determined by the data hiatus and incomplete or missing information regarding the health impact. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop