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Identification of Sources from Chemical Characterization of Fine Particulate Matter and Assessment of Ambient Air Quality in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Category: Urban Air Quality

Accepted Manuscripts
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2017.12.0604
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Bilkis A. Begum1, Philip K. Hopke 2,3

  • 1 Chemistry Division, Atomic Energy Centre, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • 2 Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, NY 14642, USA
  • 3 Center for Air Resources Engineering and Science, Clarkson University, Potsdam, NY 13699, USA


PM2.5 samples were analyzed for mass, black carbon (BC), and elemental compositions.
Resulting PM2.5 composition data from 1996 to 2015 was analyzed by PMF.
Sources are wood burning, soil, brick kiln, Pb, road dust, Zn, traffic, and seasalt.
Governmental policies have reduced the PM from traffic; More to be done.


Air pollution in Dhaka has drawn the attention of the government and the public over the past several decades especially when Pb was discovered in Dhaka air. As a result, several policy interventions have been implemented to improve the air quality. Sampling for fine airborne particulate matter (PM2.5, PM with aerodynamic diameters < 2.5 µm) has been conducted at a semi-residential site (AECD) in Dhaka since December 1996 using a GENT sampler. The samples were analyzed for mass, black carbon (BC), and elemental compositions. The resulting data set were analyzed for sources identification by Positive Matrix Factorization (PMF) technique. The identified sources are wood burning, soil dust, brick kiln, fugitive Pb, road dust, Zn source, motor vehicles, and sea salt. The Government of Bangladesh is considering various interventions to reduce the emissions from these sources by promoting the conversion of diesel/petrol vehicles to CNG, increasing traffic speed in the city, and by introducing green technologies for brick production. However, to reduce the transboundary contributions to local air quality, it will be necessary to act regionally.


PM Positive Matrix Factorization BC Traffic Compressed natural gas

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