Air quality in Turkey improving during pandemic, says report
Air quality dramatically improved in Turkey last year as people sheltered in their homes to help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, says a report.
The monthly averages of air pollution in the first three densely populated cities, Istanbul, Ankara and İzmir, have decreased compared to the pre-pandemic period in the first half of 2020, according to the Air Quality Monitoring Network of the Environment and Urbanization Ministry.
Speaking to state-run Anadolu Agency about the report, Göknur Şişman Aydın, an academic from Ege University Environmental Problems Application and Research Center, said that the restrictions applied during the pandemic positively affected the air quality of some cities.
“During the period of restrictions, we observed that measures such as blocking vehicle entrances and exits to cities, curfews, and suspension of flights had positive effects especially on air pollution,” Aydın said, stressing that the ecosystem was able to “breathe” in this way.
“In the first half of 2020, there were improvements in air quality in the country on the basis of parameters such as sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxide and particulate trap [PM10],” she noted.
Commenting on the northwestern province of Düzce, one of the cities with the highest air pollution in Turkey, the academic emphasized that the rate of particulate trap in the city air decreased by 16.1 percent, the rate of carbon monoxide by 58.2 percent and the rate of nitrogen dioxide by 48.6 percent during the pandemic.
Aydın also added that dolphins started to be seen on coasts and in gulfs, and water pollution is in a visible recovery.