Investigating the impact of COVID-19 lockdowns on environmental health in Kuwait
On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 as a global pandemic. In response, the State of Kuwait applied a series of three lockdown measures in 2020. Previous research highlighted the positive impact of lockdown measures on environmental health and safety by reducing air pollution levels. While this prior work demonstrated the effectiveness of lockdown measures on reducing pollution levels in different geographical locations, there is limited evidence that shows whether the lockdowns implemented in Kuwait were effective in terms of reducing air pollution. Thus, this paper aims to assess the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown measures taken in Kuwait on the concentrations of the following pollutants: Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), Ozone (O3), Particulate Matter 2.5 (PM2.5) and Particulate Matter 10 (PM10). Data from two different air monitoring stations (Aljahra and Alahmadi) was used to compare pollution levels from three lockdown intervals – two partial lockdowns and one total lockdown. The main findings indicated that NO2 concentrations decreased by 48%, 63%, and 48% after the first partial, total lockdown, and second partial lockdowns, respectively in Aljahra station. Meanwhile, Ozone concentrations increased by 30-100% across all lockdown periods for both stations. Finally, PM10 and PM2.5 concentrations did not decrease after the total lockdown. The findings from this study can allow us to better understand the effectiveness of lockdown measures on environmental health and safety in Kuwait.