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Understanding the Influence of Open-waste Burning on Urban Aerosols Using Metal Tracers and Lead Isotopic Composition

Category: Urban Air Quality

Accepted Manuscripts
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2017.11.0510

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Sudhanshu Kumar1,2,3, Shankar Gopala Aggarwal 1,2, Bighnaraj Sarangi1,2, Julien Malherbe3, Julien P.G. Barre3, Sylvain Berail3, Fabienne Séby3, Olivier F.X. Donard3

  • 1 Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research (AcSIR), CSIR-National Physical Laboratory Campus, New Delhi 110012, India
  • 2 Environment Sciences and Biomedical Metrology Division, CSIR-National Physical Laboratory, New Delhi 110012, India
  • 3 Laboratoire de Chimie-Analytique Bio-Inorganique et Environnement, Université de Pau et des Pays de l’Adour, CNRS UMR 5254, Hélioparc, 64053 Pau, France


High aerosol mass loading in fine mode from open-waste burning (OWB) practices.
Metals emitted from OWB are high in concentration, similar to urban winter aerosols.
Cr(VI) concentrations in OWB aerosols are higher than urban background aerosols.
First Pb isotope signatures in OWB aerosols and compared to the New Delhi aerosols.
Pb isotope analysis suggests a prominent contribution of OWB to urban aerosols.


Open-waste burning (OWB) practices are one of the important sources of urban aerosols in several developing countries. To better understand the influence of OWB emissions on urban aerosols, total suspended particles (TSP) and size segregated samples were collected at an open-waste burning site (Okhla landfill) and two urban sites in New Delhi. TSP samples were analysed for selected metals (As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Fe, Ni, Pb, Sb, Se, Sn, Sr, V and Zn) using ICP-MS. In general, among metals Fe and Zn mostly dominate, whereas As, Cd and Se are found in trace concentrations in most of the samples. On the other hand, Pb concentrations are ~5–8 folds higher in urban wintertime samples as compared to other samples. Tin, a tracer for waste burning aerosols ranged between 0.055 and 0.675 µg m–3 in OWB aerosols. Interestingly, Sn is found significantly high in urban wintertime aerosols, i.e., 0.082–0.284 µg m–3. Tin also shows high enrichment factor in urban wintertime aerosols suggesting its anthropogenic origin, possibly because of enhanced OWB practices in the winter season. Waste burning is also found to be one of the important sources of Cr. Chromium ranged 0.102–0.606 µg m–3 in OWB and 0.114–0.574 µg m–3 in urban aerosols. Since Cr(VI) is of more interest related to its impact on health, soluble Cr(VI) concentration was determined and found to be 6.12–10.2 ng m–3 (~1– 6% of total Cr in OWB aerosols compared to 0.33–0.65 ng m–3 (< 1% of total Cr) in urban aerosols. Lead isotopic signatures of OWB aerosol, i.e., 208Pb/206Pb and 206Pb/207Pb ratios were determined to be 2.1309 ± 0.0029 and 1.1316 ± 0.0035 and that of urban aerosols 2.1369 ± 0.0026 and 1.1243 ± 0.0024, respectively. However, the range of these values among the aerosol types was not very distinct and showed discreet overlaps. This Pb isotopic study along with metal fingerprints suggests increased influence of OWB emissions in winter season on the New Delhi aerosols.


Open-waste burning emissions Metal signatures Chromium(VI) Lead isotope

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Accepted Manuscripts
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2017.11.0445