Study reveals air pollution cause more COVID-19 deaths in Istanbul

A recent study has revealed that COVID-19 deaths were more prevalent in lower-income parts of Istanbul that have higher concentrations of air pollution

The Turkish language daily, Milliyet, reported that the research explored the relationship between COVID-19 deaths and socioeconomic and air pollution levels in Istanbul. To do so, it analyzed and compared particulate trap (PM10), sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen compounds data from the pre-pandemic period with data sampled during the pandemic.

Dr. Nilay Etiler and Dr. Nilüfer Aykaç, the researchers behind the study, found that every 20% decline in socioeconomic status at the district level leads to a 4% increase in COVID-19 deaths.

The survey also suggested that if the district has an elderly population of over 10%, COVID-19 related deaths in the total population increase by 35%, and deaths among those above 65 increase by 3%.

“Deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic in Istanbul are intricately linked to age, socioeconomic status, household size and air pollution levels. We found that deaths are higher in people with low per-capita income,” Aykaç said.

Data from air quality measurement stations run by Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IBB) and Marmara Regional Directorate were used in the research, she added.