Air pollution levels increase in Istanbul after lockdowns
The air pollution rate in Istanbul has increased by 12 percent compared to the months of March, April and May when the stay-at-home calls were made amid pandemic, according to the air pollution reports shared by the Environment and Urbanization Ministry’s Continuous Monitoring Center.
The areas that accounted for the highest air pollution rate were the places where vehicle traffic usually stays relatively intense, such as Kadıköy, Kağıthane and İkitelli, according to the report.
Evaluating the report, Hüseyin Toros, a meteorologist from Istanbul Technical University, described it as a “worrying” subject as this rate should have decreased during the summer period, but it has increased instead.
The academic also pointed out that the sharp rise in the number of vehicles in Istanbul during the normalization phase after the lockdowns were lifted seemed to be an important factor to take into consideration while analyzing the rate of pollution in the busy provinces.
“We see that areas such as Kadıköy, Göztepe, İkitelli and Kağıthane are more densely polluted. The number of vehicles in these areas is higher, and there are intensive transit routes,” Toros said.
In April, the number of vehicles on the traffic dropped in Istanbul as a result of the measures taken against the spread of coronavirus in the city, including a four-day curfew.
Shortly after, data from the air quality measurement stations showed that air pollution in Istanbul had fallen significantly due to reduced activity during the lockdown.
Toros said that collective work should be done to reduce air pollution.
He also pointed out that with the arrival of winter, the rate of air pollution will increase in parallel with the use of heating facilities.
“We must look for ways to reduce the costs of energy used at home. For this, thermal insulation is extremely important in buildings,” Toros said.