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Lessons learnt for air pollution mitigation policies from the COVID-19 pandemic: The Italian perspective.

TitleLessons learnt for air pollution mitigation policies from the COVID-19 pandemic: The Italian perspective.
Publication TypeArticolo su Rivista peer-reviewed
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsD'Isidoro, Massimo, D'Elia Ilaria, Vitali Lina, Cappelletti Andrea, Piersanti Antonio, Finardi Sandro, Calori Giuseppe, Pepe Nicola, Di Giosa Alessandro, Bolignano Andrea, and Zanini Gabriele
JournalAtmospheric Pollution Research
Date PublishedJan-12-2022
KeywordsAir pollution, Air quality modeling, Air quality policies, COVID-19, Lockdown

Policies to improve air quality need to be based on effective plans for reducing anthropogenic emissions. In 2020, the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic resulted in significant reductions of anthropogenic pollutant emissions, offering an unexpected opportunity to observe their consequences on ambient concentrations. Taking the national lockdown occurred in Italy between March and May 2020 as a case study, this work tries to infer if and what lessons may be learnt concerning the impact of emission reduction policies on air quality. Variations of NO2, O3, PM10 and PM2.5 concentrations were calculated from numerical model simulations obtained with business as usual and lockdown specific emissions. Both simulations were performed at national level with a horizontal resolution of 4 km, and at local level on the capital city Rome at 1 km resolution. Simulated concentrations showed a good agreement with in-situ observations, confirming the modelling systems capability to reproduce the effects of emission reductions on ambient concentration variations, which differ according to the individual air pollutant. We found a general reduction of pollutant concentrations except for ozone, that experienced an increase in Rome and in the other urban areas, and a decrease elsewhere. The obtained results suggest that acting on precursor emissions, even with sharp reductions like those experienced during the lockdown, may lead to significant, albeit complex, reduction patterns for secondary pollutant concentrations. Therefore, to be more effective, reduction measures should be carefully selected, involving more sectors than those related to mobility, such as residential and agriculture, and integrated on different scales. © 2022 Turkish National Committee for Air Pollution Research and Control


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Short TitleAtmospheric Pollution Research
Citation Key11010