The technicians of the Environment Agency, represented by the General Directorate of Environmental Affairs, conducted a study on the extent of the change in ambient air quality during the Corona pandemic, in three areas in the Governorate of Muscat, which are Al Khuwair, Al Mawalih and Al Watiyah.
This study comes after the directives of the Supreme Committee in charge of examining the mechanism of dealing with developments resulting from the spread of the Coronavirus (Covid 18) to adhere to home isolation to prevent the spread of the virus, as this absence affected social life and mobility, which in turn had a positive impact on the environment with the imposition of closure measures and activation Control and Control Points.
As the measures accompanying Corona in all countries of the world led to the restoration of the environment to its nature, according to many reports issued by various environmental institutions and organizations around the world.
The study conducted by the Environment Authority in the Sultanate aimed to find out the extent of the change in ambient air quality during the Corona pandemic, and to measure the extent of the impact of population activity and transportation activities on emissions of air pollutants in the Sultanate, based on the readings collected from the three stations that were placed in Al Khuwair and Al Mawaleh. The southern and national borders for several considerations, the most important of which are overpopulation, vehicle movement, and economic and commercial activities in those areas.
The study included evaluating data during two periods, the first before the Corona pandemic in July of 2019, and the second period during the Corona pandemic in April 2020, and a group of pollutants were monitored, which are sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, ozone and particles suspended with a diameter of 2.5 Micron and suspended particles with a diameter of 10 microns.
Where measurements were taken of the concentrations of gaseous emissions from monitoring stations for mobile air quality, and the results and graphs showed the significant decrease in pollutant concentrations during the Corona pandemic as a result of the costly decisions of the Supreme Committee, the most important of which is the closure of Muscat Governorate and the closure of schools and commercial activities.
This, in turn, was reflected in a broad decline in traffic and various population activities in the governorate, where transportation alone contributes to up to 23% of global carbon emissions, motor driving constitutes 72% and air transport 11% of the total global emissions of greenhouse gases from the sector. Transport, knowing that the environmental recovery does not include the pollutants mentioned in this study only, but there are other aspects such as carbon emissions and greenhouse gases, which according to international reports have decreased significantly as a result of the Corona pandemic.
The study found that, in general, many hopes cannot be placed on these declines, as they are not permanent. Rather, efforts must be intensified on programs and projects that work to reduce pollution rates of all kinds and preserve the Sultanate’s natural resources.