Published on Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Document number 22/09

Mexico | Did the COVID-19 lockdown reduce air pollution?

This Working Paper offers rigorous statistical evidence on the influence of the reduction in mobility, derived from the COVID-19 pandemic, on the concentration levels of pollutants that affect air quality in the Metropolitan Area of the Valley of Mexico.

Key points

  • Key points:
  • The sudden and drastic measures to restrict mobility and the closure of economic activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic generated a natural experiment to quantify the reduction of air pollutants in the Metropolitan Area of the Valley of Mexico by these actions.
  • Econometric models were estimated with daily panel data with Driscoll-Kraay standard errors for five quarters: from 2Q2020 to 2Q2021, compared with records before the pandemic, from 2015 to 2019, and controlled for atmospheric variables.
  • During the pandemic, it was found that in the 2nd and 3rd quarter of 2020, the concentration of pollutants such as Nitrogen Oxides (NOX), Nitrogen Monoxide (NO), Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), Sulfur Dioxide (SO2), Coarse Fraction Particles (PMCO) and Carbon Monoxide (CO) between 13% and 65%, without medium and long-term effects.
  • However, in the 2nd quarter of 2020, the concentration of Ozone (O3) increased by +17% and those of Fine and Ultrafine Particles (PM2.5) and Coarse and Fine Particles (PM10) did not fall.
  • To control the concentrations of O3, PM2.5 and PM10, which cause environmental contingencies in the Metropolitan Area of the Valley of Mexico, complementary strategies are required to address the area sources (domestic emissions, solvents, waste, etc.).

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