464428 The Impact of Fugitive Particulate Matter on the Environmental Health and Sustainability of Dry and Arid Regions

Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Grand Ballroom B (Hilton San Francisco Union Square)
Konstantinos E. Kakosimos, Chemical Engineering, Texas A&M University at Qatar, Doha, Qatar, Prashant Kumar, University of Surrey, Surrey, United Kingdom and Hala Hassan, Chemical Engineering, Texas A&M University at Qatar; University of Surrey

The developing arid and dry regions (i.e. North Africa, Middle East, Central Asia, and Australia) are experiencing a large wave of urbanization and industrialization, adversely affecting the area’s air quality. In 2008, outdoor air pollution contributed primarily to 7.3% of the total deaths in the UAE (Gibson et al., 2013). Lately, particulate matter (PM) pollution in these regions had become a topic of increasing concern (Nasser et al., 2015; Tsiouri et al., 2014), giving the recorded health hazards associated with its exposure. According to the air quality guidelines set by the World Health Organization, annual mean concentrations of PM2.5 and PM10 should not exceed 10 µg m-3 and 20 µg m-3, respectively (WHO, 2005). Nevertheless, annual PM levels estimated in several Middle Eastern cities between the years 2010-2012 have greatly exceeded these limits (WHO, 2014). Fugitive particulate matter (fPM) are unrestrained particles that escape to the atmosphere when applying a mechanical force on an exposed surface (e.g. emissions caused by wind shear, material transfer process, or other mechanical forces from non-point sources). fPM is also a substantial source of airborne pollution in these regions. However, accurate determination of fPM emissions and their impact on environmental health, humans’ well-being, and overall sustainability of these regions has been an ongoing challenge for the air quality research community because of the induced health effects and the large uncertainty on their determination. Despite the efforts invested in developing emission inventories for standard air pollutants, it has been observed that (i) comprehensive spatially and temporally resolved emission inventories for fugitive PM sources in the developing arid regions are non-existent, (ii) the knowledge on fugitive (non-point) sources in the existing inventories is sparse (Pouliot et al., 2012; Winiwarter et al., 2009), and requires extensive attention.

In this study we present a holistic approach towards the assessment of the fPM impact to health and sustainability. We have selected the fPM emissions from loose Calcisols (i.e. soils with substantial accumulation of secondary carbonates) which are a characteristic soil for developing areas; usually very close to, or within residential areas. Multiple campaigns have been conducted to monitor fPM a) emissions from anthropogenic activities e.g. construction, b) building infiltration, and c) composition and size. We developed new emission factors for fPM from anthropogenic activities, assembled high resolution emission inventories, and finally assessed the impact of fPM on local air quality, environmental health, and sustainability of the involved society.


This publication was made possible by the support of the Qatar National Research Fund (a member of The Qatar Foundation) [NPRP 7 - 674 - 2 - 252] and the Ministry of Public Health [Contract No SCH/PA/18/2015] State of Qatar. We would like to extend our thanks to our research teams, owe to technical limitations not all contributing researchers have been included here. The statements made herein are solely the responsibility of the authors.


Gibson, J. M., J. Thomsen, F. Launay, E. Harder and N. DeFelice, 2013: Deaths and medical visits attributable to environmental pollution in the United Arab Emirates. PLoS ONE, 8

Nasser, Z., P. Salameh, W. Nasser, L. A. Abbas, E. Elias and A. Leveque, 2015: Outdoor particulate matter (PM) and associated cardiovascular diseases in the middle east. International Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health, 28:641-661.

Pouliot, G., T. Pierce, H. Denier van der Gon, M. Schaap, M. Moran and U. Nopmongcol, 2012: Comparing emission inventories and model-ready emission datasets between Europe and North America for the AQMEII project. Atmospheric Environment, 53:4-14.

Tsiouri, V., K. E. Kakosimos and P. Kumar, 2014: Concentrations, sources and exposure risks associated with particulate matter in the Middle East area-a review. Air Qual Atmos Health:1-14.

WHO. (2005). WHO Air Quality Guidelines for Particulate Matter, Ozone, Nitrogen Dioxide and Sulfur Dioxide - Global Update 2005. In W. H. Organization (Ed.). http://www.who.int/phe/health_topics/outdoorair/outdoorair_aqg/en/.

WHO. (2014). Ambient (outdoor) air pollution in cities database 2014. http://www.who.int/phe/health_topics/outdoorair/databases/cities/en/.

Winiwarter, W., T. A. J. Kuhlbusch, M. Viana and R. Hitzenberger, 2009: Quality considerations of European PM emission inventories. Atmospheric Environment, 43:3819-3828.

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