Spatial, temporal and size distribution of particulate matter and its chemical constituents in Faisalabad, Pakistan

Wasim Javed, Anthony S. Wexler, Ghulam Murtaza, Hamaad R. Ahmad, Shahzad M A Basra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Spatial and temporal variations in aerosol particulate matter (PM) were investigated for distribution over the four seasons of chemical constituents and particle size fractions in Faisalabad, Pakistan from June 2012 to April 2013. At nine sampling sites, four PM mass size fractions (total suspended particulates [TSP], PM<inf>10</inf>, PM<inf>4</inf> and PM<inf>2.5</inf>) were monitored; simultaneously, TSP mass samples were collected on glass fber flters using a high volume air sampler. TSP samples (144) were subjected to quantitative chemical analyses for determining trace elements (Pb, Cd, Ni, Zn, Cu, Fe) using atomic absorption spectroscopy, and water-soluble cations (Ca<sup>2+</sup>, Mg<sup>2+</sup>, Na<sup>+</sup>, K<sup>+</sup>, NH<inf>4</inf><sup>+</sup>) and anions (Cl<sup>–</sup>, SO<inf>4</inf><sup>2–</sup> and NO<inf>3</inf><sup>–</sup>) by ion chromatography. The highest PM mass concentrations were observed at industrial sites, while they were somewhat lower in major road intersections and lowest in the remote background site. It was also observed that PM mass concentrations were about two to 20 times higher than the standard limits of the World Health Organization and the US Environmental Protection Agency. Coarse particles (TSP, PM<inf>10</inf> and PM<inf>4</inf>) were found to be highest during the summer, while relatively fne particles (PM<inf>2.5</inf>) were higher during the winter period. Concentrations of all size fractions were lowest during the monsoon sampling period at all sites. Concentrations of different elements and water-soluble ions also followed the similar temporal pattern as PM mass concentrations. The crustal elements Ca, Fe, Mg and Na were the largest contributors to TSP mass while elements of anthropogenic origin (Pb, Cd, Ni, Cu and Zn) had relatively lower concentrations and also showed a high spatial variation. Among the anions, sulfate (SO<inf>4</inf><sup>2–</sup>) was the predominant species contributing to 50-60% of the total anion concentration. It was found that rainfall, wind speed and relative humidity were the most important meteorological factors affecting PM concentrations. The evaluation of data presented in this paper will serve as a basis for future regional modeling and source apportionment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-116
Number of pages18
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2015


  • Meteorology
  • PM<inf>10</inf>
  • PM<inf>2.5</inf>
  • Size distribution
  • TSP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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