Special Issue on Air Quality in a Changed World: Regional, Ambient, and Indoor Air Concentrations from the COVID to Post-COVID Era (V)

Monika Załuska  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.1, Anna Justyna Werner-Juszczuk1, Katarzyna Gładyszewska-Fiedoruk2 

1 Department of HVAC Engineering, Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Białystok University of Technology, 15-351 Białystok, Poland
2 Institute of Environmental Engineering, Warsaw University of Life Sciences, 02-776 Warsaw, Poland

Received: December 28, 2021
Revised: March 18, 2022
Accepted: March 23, 2022

 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.210399  

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Cite this article:

Załuska, M., Werner-Juszczuk, A.J., Gładyszewska-Fiedoruk, K. (2022). Impact of COVID-19 Case Numbers on the Emission of Pollutants from a Medical Waste Incineration Plant. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 22, 210399. https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.210399


  • Medical waste management is an increasing problem during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The amount of waste moderately increases with the number of COVID-19 cases.
  • Emission of SO2, NOx and HCl is moderately related to the number of COVID-19 cases.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic causes an increased emission of some pollutants.


This article examines the correlation between the amount of pollutants emitted from medical waste incinerator plant and the number of COVID-19 infections, based on the example of Podlaskie Voivodeship in Poland. This paper deals with the issues of medical waste management during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thermal processing is characterised as a method of medical waste utilisation. The technological sequence of the medical waste incineration installation and the integrated exhaust gas cleaning system are discussed. The results of studies on the emission of pollutants into the atmosphere during combustion are compared with the number of COVID-19 cases in the same voivodeship to investigate how the coronavirus pandemic affects the amount of medical waste generated, thus the amount of pollutants emitted into the atmosphere. The Pearson's linear correlation coefficient and the Student's t-test are used to verify the results. The analysis results show a statistically significant, moderate positive correlation between the amount of covid waste and the number of COVID-19 cases (0.5140). In turn, there is also a statistically significant moderate correlation between the number of COVID-19 cases and emissions of SO2 (r = 0.6256, p = 0.010), NOx (0.5019, p = 0.048), and HCl (0.5130, p = 0.042). This correlation finding highlights additional costs to the environment and public health as the number of COVID-19 cases increase, which can be taken into account for pandemic planning by governments in the future.

Keywords: Air pollution, Emission, Medical waste, Thermal waste treatment, COVID-19

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