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

Daulet Assanov2, Aiymgul Kerimray This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.1, Birzhan Batkeyev3, Zhanna Kapsalyamova4

1 Al-Farabi Kazakh National University, Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology, Center of Physical-Chemical Methods of Research and Analysis, Almaty, Kazakhstan
2 Excellence Center “Veritas”, D. Serikbayev East Kazakhstan Technical University, Ust-Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan
3 International School of Economics, Kazakh-British Technical University, Almaty, Kazakhstan
4 Department of Economics, 53 Kabanbay Batyra, Nazarbayev University, Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan

Received: December 15, 2020
Revised: May 4, 2021
Accepted: May 5, 2021

 Copyright The Author(s). 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.200663  

Cite this article:

Assanov, D., Kerimray, A., Batkeyev, B., Kapsalyamova, Z. (2021). The Effects of COVID-19-related Driving Restrictions on Air Quality in an Industrial City. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.200663


  • The effects of COVID-19 driving restrictions in an industrial city was examined.
  • The study analyzes the period from 2016 to 2020 using the fixed-effects model.
  • The restrictions decreased the levels of CO, increased the levels of TSP.
  • But had no significant effect on SO2 and NO2 concentrations in the city.
  • Overall, the COVID-19 restrictions did not improve the air quality in Ust-Kamenogorsk.


To slow the spread of COVID-19, the state of emergency was announced in Kazakhstan on March 16, 2020. Ust-Kamenogorsk instituted COVID-19 lockdown measures on April 2, 2020. The restrictions reduced the flow of traffic in the city, but did not have a major impact on the large industries and power plants. In the areas with a complex profile of emission sources, traffic restriction measures alone may hardly tackle serious air pollution.  This natural experiment allowed to test how reduction in transport movement affects air quality in Ust-Kamenogorsk, as there is a tendency to hold transport as being a major cause of air pollution in Ust-Kamenogorsk. This study analyzes concentrations of four major air pollutants and meteorological parameters in Ust-Kamenogorsk from March 1 to May 15 in 2016–2020. Using the fixed effects model, we find that restrictions have decreased the levels of CO by 21-23 percent, increased the levels of TSP by 13-21 percent and had no significant effect on SO2 and NO2 concentrations in the city. It implies that heavy pollution in the city with SO2, NO2, TSP are mainly caused by non-transport related sources.

Keywords: Air pollution, COVID-19 restrictions, Transport, Ust-Kamenogorsk

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