Substantial Changes in Selected Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and Associations with Health Risk Assessments in Industrial Areas during the COVID-19 PandemicShow More
Toxics , Volume 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics11020165
Abstract: During the COVID-19 pandemic, governments in many countries worldwide, including India, imposed several restriction measures, including lockdowns, to prevent the spread of the infection. COVID-19 lockdowns led to a reduction in gaseous and particulate pollutants in ambient air. In the present study, we investigated the substantial changes in selected volatile organic compounds (VOCs) after the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and associations with health risk assessments in industrial areas. VOC data from 1 January 2019 to 31 December 2021 were collected from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) website, to identify percentage changes in VOC levels before, during, and after COVID-19. The mean TVOC levels at all monitoring stations were 47.22 ± 30.15, 37.19 ± 37.19, and 32.81 ± 32.81 µg/m3 for 2019, 2020, and 2021, respectively. As a result, the TVOC levels gradually declined in consecutive years due to the pandemic in India. The mean TVOC levels at all monitoring stations declined from 9 to 61% during the pandemic period as compared with the pre-pandemic period. In the current study, the T/B ratio values ranged from 2.16 (PG) to 26.38 (NL), which indicated that the major pollutant contributors were traffic and non-traffic sources during the pre-pandemic period. The present findings indicated that TVOC levels had positive but low correlations with SR, BP, RF, and WD, with correlation coefficients (r) of 0.034, 0.118, 0.012, and 0.007, respectively, whereas negative correlations were observed with AT and WS, with correlation coefficients (r) of −0.168 and −0.150, respectively. The lifetime cancer risk (LCR) value for benzene was reported to be higher in children, followed by females and males, for the pre-pandemic, pandemic, and post-pandemic periods. A nationwide scale-up of this study’s findings might be useful in formulating future air pollution reduction policies associated with a reduction in health risk factors. Furthermore, the present study provides baseline data for future studies on the impacts of anthropogenic activities on the air quality of a region.
Keywords: TVOCs / pandemic / T/B ratio / meteorological parameters / LCR
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