Seasonal variations of outdoor air pollution and factors driving them in the school environment in rural Bhutan

Wangchuk, Tenzin, He, Congrong, Dudzinska, Marzenna R., & Morawska, Lidia (2015) Seasonal variations of outdoor air pollution and factors driving them in the school environment in rural Bhutan. Atmospheric Environment, 113, pp. 151-158.

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Abstract

A quantitative understanding of outdoor air quality in school environments is crucial given that air pollution levels inside classrooms are significantly influenced by outdoor pollution sources. To date, only a handful of studies have been conducted on this important topic in developing countries. The aim of this study was to quantify pollutant levels in the outdoor environment of a school in Bhutan and assess the factors driving them. Measurements were conducted for 16 weeks, spanning the wet and dry seasons, in a rural school in Bhutan. PM10, PM2.5, particle number (PN) and CO were measured daily using real-time instruments, while weekly samples for volatile organic compounds (VOCs), carbonyls and NO2 were collected using a passive sampling method. Overall mean PM10 and PM2.5 concentrations (µg/m3) were 27 and 13 for the wet, and 36 and 29 for the dry season, respectively. Only wet season data were available for PN concentrations, with a mean of 2.56 × 103 particles/cm3. Mean CO concentrations were below the detection limit of the instrumentation for the entire measurement period. Only low levels of eight VOCs were detected in both the wet and dry seasons, which presented different seasonal patterns in terms of the concentration of different compounds. The notable carbonyls were formaldehyde and hexaldehyde, with mean concentrations (µg/m3) of 2.37 and 2.41 for the wet, and 6.22 and 0.34 for the dry season, respectively. Mean NO2 cocentration for the dry season was 1.7 µg/m3, while it was below the detection limit of the instrumentation for the wet season. The pollutant concentrations were associated with a number of factors, such as cleaning and combustion activities in and around the school. A comparison with other school studies showed comparable results with a few of the studies, but in general, we found lower pollutant concentrations in the present study.

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ID Code: 84564
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: school, rural, pollutants, outdoor, season, Bhutan
DOI: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2015.05.004
ISSN: 1352-2310
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Chemistry, Physics & Mechanical Engineering
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 Elsevier Ltd.
Copyright Statement: Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
Deposited On: 28 May 2015 23:38
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2015 19:37

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