Urgent control of air pollution to reduce economic and social impact of COVID-19

Urgent control of air pollution

What started as a timid suspicion is being confirmed as the COVID-19 crisis lengthens in time and space: there is a strong correlation between air pollution, and particularly PM2.5 concentrations, and the cases of Covid-19, hospital admissions and deaths.

This statement is increasingly shared by various studies from prestigious institutes and universities.

A study carried out by the Deutch Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), a nonprofit research institute and the leading international network in labor economics, indicates that a 1 μ/m3 increase in PM2.5 concentrations is associated with 9.4% cases more than Covid-19, 3% more hospital admissions and 2.3% more deaths. The research has been carried out in more than 300 locations in Netherlands.

Dutch research Covid19 and air pollution

Harvard University has also investigated this correlation. In a study conducted in 3,000 counties in the USA (98% of the population) they concluded that an increase of only 1 g/m3 in PM2.5 is associated with a 15% increase in the COVID-19 death rate, 95% confidence interval (CI) (5%, 25%). Results are statistically significant and robust to secondary and sensitivity analyzes.

Harvard research Covid19 and air pollution

Another study in China, published in the Science of The Total Environment magazine, came to similar conclusions.

China research Covid19 and air pollution

The results of this study highlight the importance of following applying the current regulations on pollution of the air to protect health during and after the COVID-19 crisis.

The COVID19 crisis has irretrievably revealed what we already knew long ago: pollution increases citizens’ respiratory and coronary diseases. Additionally, the side effects of COVID-19 that can already be intuited also especially affect lung capacity, which will further increase this type of disease in the medium and long term future, with the consequent loss of human and economic capital due to the increase of public health spending.

“Being able to measure air pollution and take measures to reduce it is a matter of public health and social welfare and, now, also of economy. The greenest cities will be the richest”, states Alicia Asín, Libelium’s CEO.

It is therefore vital, both for citizens’ health and for the economy, to redouble efforts to reduce pollution. Platforms like Libelium Plug & Sense! Smart Environment PRO, with its PM2.5 sensor, are the great allies for greener cities.

The consequent reduction in pollution resulting from low economic activity cannot deceive governments into lowering their guard against caring for the environment.

Other measures that significantly reduce air pollution in cities are mobility policies. Parking space detection technology also contributes to improving the driver’s experience by reducing driving time, emissions and also noise.

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