Air Quality in Quito during COVID-19 outbreak

Published: 01-05-2020| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/dcj58524fk.1
Rasa Zalakeviciute,
Danilo Mejia,
Valeria Diaz-Suarez


In early 2020, the human population of the world confronted a great challenge – a pandemic of a novel Corona Virus disease (COVID-19). In order to protect the population, precautionary quarantine measures were implemented in almost all countries by March 2020, which focuses on social isolation and distancing through a strict limitation of anthropogenic activities: traffic, social gatherings, industries, etc. In turn, this epidemiologic emergency has resulted in reduced environmental pollution. It is necessary to quantify the effect of these measures on the urban air pollution in the Ecuadorian capital - Quito and its spatial variations, as toxic pollution tends to aggravate the body’s response to the respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. The data "QuitoDATA_2020.xlsx" contains atmospheric information for Quito starting January 1 and ending April 12, 2020, englobing a few months before the quarantine and four weeks of quarantine. This data is acquired from the urban air quality monitoring network run by the local Secretariat of the Environment. This high-quality monitoring data network is run strictly following the recommendations of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) using standard EPA methods ( Daily average data is organized per study site (Belisario, Carapungo, Centro, Cotocollao, Camal, Guamani and Chillos) and also is averaged over the city (Quito)). The data confirms a great reduction (29-68%) in major urban pollutants (nitrogen dioxide - NO2, sulfur dioxide - SO2, particulate matter with aerodynamic diameters ≤ 2.5 µm - PM2.5 and carbon monoxide - CO). Important meteorological parameters (hourly precipitation (Rain) and wind speed (WS)) are also presented in order to help support the discussion. These data show that the reduction in air pollution levels is not due to extremely different environmental conditions, but actually due to the quarantine measures. The spatial evolution of atmospheric pollution is also studied for Quito and Ecuador, using observed surface and satellite data. This data is presented in “data_NO2_SO2_S5P.xlsx” and S5P data “NO2 DATA S5P.rar” and “SO2 DATA S5P.rar”. The Sentinel 5 Precursor TROPOMI satellite, is the most advanced equipment on earth, is provided with spectral sensors capable of detecting concentrations of polluting gases such as NO2, SO2, O3, CO, CH4, Formaldehydes and Aerosols in profile, with a daily temporality; data are available from 2018 and are granted by the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Research Institute (KNMI). For this research we used the Google Engine (GGE) platform which allows downloading L3 level products, GGE uses HARP commands which gives us images with 1km per pixel resolution.