Effects of Lifting COVID-19 Lockdown on Ambient Air Particulate Matter and Associated Health Risk at Uganda Christian University's Main Campus, Mukono
Texila international journal of public health
Lockdowns control the spread of SARS-CoV-2 virus and are associated with improved air quality. Uganda imposed a lockdown beginning March 18 th and begun easing it on the 2 nd of June 2020. This study analysed ambient air PM2.5 at Uganda Christian University's (UCU) main campus during and after the lockdown. Health risk reflected by avoidable premature deaths associated with poorer air quality due to lifting of the lockdown was also estimated. Methods: Laser particle counter, Purple Air PA-II,
... asured ambient Air PM2.5 concentration at UCU main campus for the lockdown period of 8 th April to 30 th June 2020. Excel Toolpak was used for data analysis and the health risk assessed with the World Health Organisation's AirQ+ tool. Results: The 24-hour ambient mean PM2.5 count was 16.61 μg/m³ during the lockdown and it increased to 35.57 μg/m³ on lifting of the lockdown. The increased PM2.5 is associated with a higher risk of preventable premature deaths. Vehicles using adjacent roadways were the likely source of ambient air PM2.5 at UCU. Discussion: Ambient air PM2.5 during the lockdown was moderate on the Air Quality Index and it deteriorated to unhealthy for sensitive people during the lifting of the lockdown which raised the risk of preventable premature deaths. Air quality at UCU main campus could be improved by planting a wide vegetation fence next to the adjacent roads, using cleaner fuel in the University's kitchen, lobbying for paving Bishop Road and placing new buildings away from roads. These would improve health including Covid-19 outcomes.