Water Quality Improvement During the COVID-19 Outbreak in China
Posted: 5 Aug 2020 Last revised: 17 Aug 2020
Date Written: July 31, 2020
We estimate the impacts of the large-scale city lockdown following the COVID-19 outbreak on surface water quality in China using the difference-in-differences and event study methods. Using a comprehensive data set of station-level surface water quality in China, we find that dissolved oxygen is significantly higher even three months after lockdown, suggesting short-term improvements of surface water quality. Triple-differences estimates from a firm-level pollution emission dataset of two provinces suggest that ammonia nitrogen concentration of the textile and garment industry drastically decreases, but the chemical oxygen demand concentrations of several industries significantly increase after lockdown. Our estimates suggest a large potential for water quality improvement in developing countries. However, policy makers should also pay attention to areas that may experience more severe water pollution during COVID-19 and release relevant information promptly so that people can take necessary precautions.
Keywords: COVID-19, lockdown, water pollution, surface water quality, China
JEL Classification: Q53
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