Millán Martínez, D. Sánchez-Rodas, A. Mª Sánchez de la Campa, J. de la Rosa. Social Science Research Network
Trace element concentrations within PM10, gaseous pollutants (NO2 and SO2), and PM10 levels were studied during the Covid-19 lockdown at a regional level in southern Spain (Andalusia). Pollutant concentrations were compared considering different mobility periods (pre-lockdown, lockdown, and relaxation) in 2020 and previous years (2013–2016). An acute decrease in NO2 levels (< 50%) was observed as a consequence of traffic diminution during the confinement period. Moreover, a lower reduction in PM10 levels and a non-clear pattern for SO2 levels were observed.During the lockdown period, PM10 elements released from traffic emissions (Sn and Sb) showed the highest concentration diminution in the study area. Regarding the primary industrial sites, there were no significant differences in V, Ni, La, and Cr concentration reduction during 2020 associated with industrial activity (stainless steel and oil refinery) in Algeciras Bay. Similarly, concentrations of Zn showed the same behaviour at Cordoba, indicating that the Zn-smelter activity was not affected by the lockdown. Nevertheless, stronger reductions of Cu, Zn, and As in Huelva during the confinement period indicated a decrease in the nearby Cu-smelter emissions. Brick factories in Bailen were also influenced by the confinement measures, as corroborated by the marked decrease in concentrations of Ni, V, Cu, and Zn during the lockdown compared to that from previous years.This work has shown the baseline concentrations of trace elements of PM10, which is of great value to air quality managers in order to minimise pollution levels by applying the confinement of the population, affecting both traffic and industrial anthropogenic activities.