Special Issue on COVID-19 Aerosol Drivers, Impacts and Mitigation (IV)

Sasan Faridi1,2#, Fatemeh Yousefian1,2#, Sadegh Niazi3, Mohammad Rezvani Ghalhari2, Mohammad Sadegh Hassanvand This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.1,2, Kazem Naddafi This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.1,2

1 Centre for Air Pollution Research (CAPR), Institute for Environmental Research (IER), Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
2 Department of Environmental Health Engineering, School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
3 International Laboratory for Air Quality and Health, School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Science and Engineering Faculty, Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

# These authors contributed equally to this work.


Received: May 14, 2020
Revised: June 5, 2020
Accepted: June 14, 2020

 Copyright The Author's institutions. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are cited. 

Download Citation: ||https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.2020.05.0225 

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Cite this article:

Faridi, S., Yousefian, F., Niazi, S., Ghalhari, M.R., Hassanvand, M.S. and Naddafi, K. (2020). Impact of SARS-CoV-2 on Ambient Air Particulate Matter in Tehran. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 20: 1805–1811. https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.2020.05.0225


  • This study reveals the effect of SARS-CoV-2 on ambient PM10 and PM2.5 in Tehran.
  • Contrary to expectations, ambient PM noticeably increased during the SARS-CoV-2.
  • An increase of 20.5% was found for PM2.5 during first month of SARS-CoV-2 outbreak.
  • An increase of 15.7% was found for PM10 during first month of SARS-CoV-2 outbreak.


The pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has indirectly produced both positive and negative effects on the environment, particularly in terms of air quality. Our study aimed to determine these effects in the city of Tehran by comparing the ambient PM2.5 and PM10 levels recorded at 22 air quality monitoring stations during the outbreak (20 February–2 April 2020) with those from the corresponding period last year (20 February–3 April 2019). Contrary to expectation, the average concentrations of both the PM2.5 and the PM10 were markedly higher during the former, increasing by 20.5% and 15.7%, respectively, for the first month of the outbreak (20 February–19 March 2020) and by 23.5% and 20.0% for the subsequent Nowruz New Year holidays (from late March till early April), which resulted in overall increases of 20.5% and 16.5% for the entire period. The non-integrated responses to the pandemic, including the failure to close administrative centers and, in particular, the recommendation to maintain social distancing by reducing public transportation use (prompting citizens to travel by private vehicle), have worsened the ambient air quality in Tehran, providing an exceptional opportunity to evaluate the direct/indirect influence of air quality policies and emission control measures on PM2.5 and PM10. Because of the significant association between the lethality of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and exposure to ambient air pollution, the rise in airborne PM2.5 during this outbreak may increase the mortality rate of SARS-CoV-2.

Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; Ambient air quality; PM2.5; PM10; Tehran.

Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 20:1805-1811. https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.2020.05.0225 

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