Research by EKPA on waste reveals changes in the habits of Athenians in the first lockdown and is presented in an article in a scientific journal. The work investigated pre-coronavirus effluents and effluents during the first lockdown from the Psyttalia wastewater treatment center.
Samples were investigated for thousands of organic pollutants using sophisticated analytical instruments and computing tools. Among the substances investigated were industrial substances (bisphenols, phthalates, polyfluorinated substances), surfactants contained in detergents, antimicrobials contained in antiseptics, plant protection substances, food additives, additives related to mental health (antidepressants).
The findings of the research were impressive:
The substances contained in the detergents showed a vertical increase (surfactants increased by + 196%, cationic quaternary ammonium surfactants increased by + 331%).
The substances contained in the antiseptic products showed a vertical increase in the lockdown conditions with an increase of + 152%
Industrial substances showed a significant drop (-52%), which is attributed to the freezing of industrial production and mainly of the chemical industry
Citizens were found to have reduced smoking (-33%), possibly influenced by the media and early scientific studies, which argued that smoking was associated with a higher risk of respiratory infections.
The lockdown, at least during the first weeks of the first lockdown, seemed to have a small negative effect on the psychology of citizens (increase of psychoactive substances by + 20%)
Mixed drug trends: drastic reduction of ecstasy (main reason for closing nightclubs), drastic reduction of heroin, small reduction for cannabis and increasing trends for stimulant drugs such as amphetamine, methamphetamine and cocaine.
Increased concentration of technical sweeteners and dietary supplements possibly associated with increased food consumption due to constant stay at home.
The article is entitled "Change in the chemical content of untreated wastewater of Athens, Greece under COVID-19 pandemic" and is signed by researchers Nikiforos Alygizakis, Aikaterini Galani, Nikolaos Rousis, Reza Aalizadeh, Thanos Dimopoulos (rector of EKPA) and Nikolaos Thomas. The article was accepted for publication in the scientific journal Science of The Total Environment, which is one of the most prestigious environmental journals with a global impact.