The coronavirus pandemic has seriously affected human health, although some improvements on environmental indexes have temporarily occurred, due to changes on socio-cultural and economic standards. The objective of this study was to evaluate the impacts of the coronavirus and the influence of the lockdown associated with rainfall on the water quality of the Capibaribe and Tejipió rivers, Recife, Northeast Brazil, using cloud remote sensing on the Google Earth Engine (GEE) platform. The study was carried out based on eight representative images from Sentinel-2. Among the selected images, two refer to the year 2019 (before the pandemic), three refer to 2020 (during a pandemic), two from the lockdown period (2020), and one for the year 2021. The land use and land cover (LULC) and slope of the study region were determined and classified. Water turbidity data were subjected to descriptive and multivariate statistics. When analyzing the data on LULC for the riparian margin of the Capibaribe and Tejipió rivers, a low permanent preservation area was found, with a predominance of almost 100% of the urban area to which the deposition of soil particles in rivers are minimal. The results indicated that turbidity values in the water bodies varied from 6 mg. L−1 up to 40 mg. L−1. Overall, the reduction in human-based activities generated by the lockdown enabled improvements in water quality of these urban rivers.
Elsevier, Journal of South American Earth Sciences, Volume 118, October 2022, 103965