Water Quality Improvement During the COVID-19 Outbreak in China

Posted: 5 Aug 2020 Last revised: 17 Aug 2020

See all articles by Yun Qiu

Yun Qiu

Institute for Economic and Social Research, Jinan University

Wei Shi

Jinan University

Wenjie Wu

Jinan University - Institute for Economic and Social Research

Date Written: July 31, 2020

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Qiu, Yun and Shi, Wei and Wu, Wenjie, Water Quality Improvement During the COVID-19 Outbreak in China (July 31, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3664832 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3664832

Yun Qiu (Contact Author)

Institute for Economic and Social Research, Jinan University ( email )

601 West Whampoa Road
Tianhe District
Guangzhou, 510632
China

Wei Shi

Jinan University

Wenjie Wu

Jinan University - Institute for Economic and Social Research ( email )

601 West Whampoa Road
Tianhe District
Guangzhou, 510632
China

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