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Turkey’s Istanbul sees cleaner air amid COVID-19 lockdown

Turkey’s Istanbul sees cleaner air amid COVID-19 lockdown

The air pollution in the Turkish metropolitan city of Istanbul fell around 30% after stay-at-home calls amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to the city’s municipality on Wednesday.

In a statement, the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality said the number of vehicles on the traffic dropped as a result of the measures against the spread of coronavirus in the city, including a four-day curfew last week.

The statement also cited Bahar Tuncel, an environmental engineer for the municipality, who highlighted the impact of the fall in the number of vehicles on traffic in air quality, saying: “The limit value should be annually 40 micrograms/cubic meters in terms of particulate matter.”

“Before the pandemic, the particulate matter contaminants were at a level of 45-55 micrograms/cubic meters throughout Istanbul,” she added.

During the period of virus measures, the level of airborne particulate matter dropped below 50, she stressed, adding it even went down to levels of 30 micrograms/cubic meters this week.

Turkey took various measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including weekend curfews in 31 provinces.

Last week, data from the air quality measurement stations and municipalities across Turkey showed that air pollution in major cities has fallen significantly due to reduced activity during the lockdown.

Turkey has recorded nearly 115,000 coronavirus cases so far, with the death toll standing at 2,992 and over 38,800 recoveries.

More than 3.12 million people in 185 countries and regions have been infected by the coronavirus since it emerged in China last December, with the US and Europe being the world’s hardest-hit areas.

A significant proportion of patients — nearly 935,500 — have recovered from COVID-19, but the disease has claimed over 217,600 lives so far, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University in the US.