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Airborne Particulate Pollution Measured in Bangladesh from 2014 to 2017

Category: Urban Air Quality

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DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2018.08.0284
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Ashraf Mahmood1, Yongguang Hu 1, Sabera Nasreen2, Philip K. Hopke 3,4

  • 1 School of Agricultural Equipment Engineering, Jiangsu University, Zhenjiang 212013, China
  • 2 Department of Environment, Dhaka-1207, Bangladesh
  • 3 Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, NY 14642, USA
  • 4 Center for Air Resources Engineering and Science, Clarkson University, Potsdam, NY 13699, USA

Highlights

Hourly PM2.5 and PM10 measured at 6 sites for 4 years in Bangladesh.
Temporal patterns were assessed at each site.
Political unrest at the start of 2015 reduced the daily automobile traffic.
PM2.5 concentrations during this time were not consistently lower at all sites.


Abstract

Recently, the World Health Organization ranked Narayanganj, Chittagong, and Dhaka among the top 25, 40, and 45 cities, respectively, for high ambient PM2.5 concentrations. Bangladesh has instituted an air quality monitoring system operated by the Department of Environment. PM2.5 and PM10 were measured hourly from January 2014 through December 2017 in Dhaka, Gazipur, Narayanganj, Chittagong, Sylhet, and Barisal. All sites registered concentrations that exceeded the 24-h Bangladesh National Ambient Air Quality Standards for both pollutants. The particulate matter (PM) concentrations varied significantly seasonally and with different diel patterns from city to city. The highest concentrations were typically observed during the winter when wind speeds and mixed layer heights are low and there is increased pollutant concentrations driven by transport from the northwest. The PM2.5 concentrations from the 1st quarter of 2014 and the 1st quarter of 2015 were compared to assess whether political unrest that appeared to reduce vehicular moment to very low levels affected the observed values. However, the PM2.5 concentrations were statistically similar at the Dhaka, Narayanganj, and Sylhet sites and different for the Gazipur, Chittagong, and Barisal locations. Thus, the PM2.5 concentrations during the political unrest in the 1st quarter of 2015 were not consistently lower across the measurement sites. These results indicate that vehicular emission contributions to PM2.5 concentrations are smaller than in the past in agreement with recent source apportionment studies showing that brick kilns have become the dominant sources of PM.

Keywords

Air quality PM2.5 PM10 Temporal patterns Meteorology


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