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Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) Level Changes in Turkey’s 81 Provinces During the COVID-19 Period Evaluation Note/ Ayşegül Taşöz Düşündere
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15/05/2020 - Viewed 1642 times



Sound normalization stages following the COVID-19 require a formidable policy design process. First of all, it is necessary to understand the varying needs of the 81 provinces, find out to what extent they are affected by the pandemic and through which channels. Some of these answers, regarding the economic effects on each province, will be given when the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures are announced. However, GDP figures are measured long after production activities take place and the post-COVID normalization period requires short-term policy options due to its nature. Data sets announced at frequent intervals, such as credit card expenditures and electricity consumption, are essential tools in keeping track of which provinces are affected by which channels from COVID-19 measures. This study evaluates the concentration levels of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) emissions produced by vehicle traffic, power plants, and factories via satellite images, essentially enabling the tracking of the effects of COVID-19 measures in Turkey’s 81 provinces.

According to our calculations, from April 2019 to April 2020, the average NO2 value of 81 provinces decreased by 10.5 percent. The research has revealed that the provinces with the most year-over-year decreases in NO2 levels for April 2020, are: Yalova, Istanbul, Zonguldak, Bursa, Kocaeli, Bartin, Kirklareli, Tekirdag, Adana, and Edirne. Yalova, Istanbul ve Zonguldak, can be considered as the 1st tier provinces in terms of the most reduction in NO2 values. Following these 1st tier provinces, those in the 2nd tier (Bursa, Kocaeli, Bartin, Kirklareli, Tekirdag, Adana, and Edirne) were mostly located in the Marmara and Black Sea regions. An exception in the 2nd tier, being out of these two regions, was Adana. The 3rd tier provinces are found to be in close geographic proximity to provinces listed within the 2nd tier. Furthermore, many of the provinces in the 1st and 2nd tiers either have or are near highways.

For the provinces experiencing a significant decrease in NO2 levels compared to the national provincial average, it can be interpreted that these provinces were most affected by various COVID-19 measures in place. To name a few, heightened social distancing, transitioning to working at home, the decrease in urban and intercity traffic, and temporary suspension of factories. Policy designs for the COVID-19 normalization period must factor into account that industrial activities and human mobility in these provinces substantially decreased at a higher rate than in other provinces.

Figure 4 - Comparison of Top 10 Provinces with the Most Changes in NO2 Index Values, April 2019 and April 2020


You may read evaluation note from here.


This evaluation note was published in Turkish on 07.05.2020

Tags: COVID-19,


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