Assessment of NO2 Pollution Level during the COVID-19 Lockdown in a Romanian City

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Jan 11;18(2):544. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18020544.


This study investigates changes in pollution associated with the lockdown period caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in Galati (45.43° N, 28.03° E), a Romanian city located in the southeast of Romania. The study is focused on nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a trace gas which can be related to emissions from industrial activities, heating, and transportation. The investigation is based on in situ observations from local Air Quality Monitoring Stations (AQMS) and mobile remote sensing observations by Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy (DOAS) technique. We also show results of the NO2 vertical column measured by TROPOMI (TROPOspheric Monitoring Instrument), a space instrument onboard of satellite mission Sentinel-5P, to complement local ground-based measurements. For in situ observations, the lockdown interval (23 March 2020-15 May 2020) was separated from normal periods. The decrease in local NO2 concentration during lockdown, measured in situ, is rather small, of about 10-40% at the most, is observed only at some stations, and is better seen during workdays than during weekends. We conclude that the decrease in NO2 content over Galati city during lockdown is relatively small and may be attributed to the reduction in local traffic, a consequence of special measures and restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 lockdown by the Romanian authorities.

Keywords: COVID-19 lockdown; in situ; mobile DOAS observations; nitrogen dioxide; space observations.

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / analysis
  • Air Pollution / analysis*
  • COVID-19 / epidemiology*
  • Cities
  • Environmental Monitoring*
  • Humans
  • Nitrogen Dioxide / analysis*
  • Pandemics*
  • Romania


  • Air Pollutants
  • Nitrogen Dioxide