Environment--lockdown, air pollution and related diseases: could we learn something and make it last?

European Journal of Public Health | 9 November 2021
Authors: Marija Jevtic, Vlatka Matkovic, Peter van den Hazel, Catherine Bouland


Although the pandemic has caused substantial losses in economic prosperity and human lives, it has also some positive impacts on the environment. Restricted mobility, complete closure, less traffic and industry have led to improved air quality especially in urban settings. Not only is air pollution an important determinant of chronic diseases, such as heart and lung disorders, but it has also been shown that poor air quality increases the risk of COVID-19.

In this article, we review some of the findings on changes in air quality during the pandemic, and its potential effects on health. We need to continue to monitor the effects of change in air quality, due to COVID-19 lockdown or other factors, but also keep all our efforts to improve air quality even faster and more persistent, bringing the pollution levels below what WHO recommends are safe to live with.

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