Rising surface ozone due to anthropogenic activities and its impact on COVID-19 related deaths in Delhi, India

Akshansha Chauhan, Sharad Kumar Gupta, Yuei An Liou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The rapidity and global spread of the COVID-19 pandemic have left several vital questions in the research community requiring coordinated investigation and unique perspectives to explore the relationship between the spread of disease and air quality. Previous studies have focused mainly on the relation of particulate matter concentration with COVID-19-related mortalities. In contrast, surficial ozone has not been given much attention as surface ozone is a primary air pollutant and directly impacts the respiratory system of humans. Hence, we analyzed the relationship between surface ozone pollution and COVID-19-related mortalities. In this study, we have analyzed the variability of various atmospheric pollutants (particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10), Nitrogen dioxide (NO2), Carbon monoxide (CO), and Ozone) in the National Capital Region (NCR) of India during 2020–2021 using station data and investigated the relationship of the air-quality parameters with the COVID-19 related deaths. In northern parts of India, the concentration of particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10), Nitrogen dioxide (NO2), Carbon monoxide (CO), and Ozone remain high during the pre- and post-monsoon seasons due to dust loading and crop residue burning (after winter wheat in April & summer rice in November). The westerly wind brings the polluted airmass from western and northwestern parts to Delhi and National Capital Region during April–June and October–November, and meteorological conditions help raise the concentration of these pollutants. Due to long solar hours and high CO concentrations, the ozone concentration is higher from April to June and September. While comparing major air quality parameters with COVID-19-related deaths, we found a good relationship between surface ozone and COVID-19 mortality in Delhi. We also observed a time lag relationship between ozone concentration and mortality in Delhi, so the exposure to Ozone in a large population of Delhi may have augmented the rise of COVID-19-related deaths. The analysis suggested that ozone has a significant relationship with COVID-19 related mortality in Delhi in comparison to other parameters.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere14975
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2023


  • Air quality
  • COVID-19 mortality
  • Crop reside burning
  • Dust loading
  • Ozone


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