Articles | Volume 17, issue 10
Research article
01 Jun 2017
Research article |  | 01 Jun 2017

Near-road sampling of PM2. 5, BC, and fine-particle chemical components in Kathmandu Valley, Nepal

Kabindra M. Shakya, Maheswar Rupakheti, Anima Shahi, Rejina Maskey, Bidya Pradhan, Arnico Panday, Siva P. Puppala, Mark Lawrence, and Richard E. Peltier

Abstract. Semicontinuous PM2. 5 and black carbon (BC) concentrations, and 24 h integrated PM2. 5 filter samples were collected near roadways in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. Instruments were carried by a group of volunteer traffic police officers in the vicinity of six major roadway intersections in the Kathmandu Valley across two sampling periods in 2014. Daily PM2. 5 filter samples were analyzed for water-soluble inorganic ions, elemental carbon (EC) and organic carbon (OC), and 24 elements. Mean PM2. 5 and BC concentrations were 124.76 µg m−3 and 16.74 µgC m−3 during the drier spring sampling period, and 45.92 µg m−3 and 13.46 µgC m−3 during monsoonal sampling. Despite the lower monsoonal PM2. 5 concentrations, BC and several elements were not significantly lower during the monsoon, which indicates an important contribution of vehicle-related emissions throughout both seasons in this region. During the monsoon, there was an enhanced contribution of chemical species (elements and water-soluble inorganic ions), except secondary inorganic ions, and BC to PM2. 5 (crustal elements: 19 %; heavy metals: 5 %; and BC: 39 %) compared to those in spring (crustal elements: 9 %; heavy metals: 1 %; and BC: 18 %). Silica, calcium, aluminum, and iron were the most abundant elements during both spring and the monsoon, with total concentrations of 12.13 and 8.85 µg m−3, respectively. PM2. 5 and BC showed less spatial variation compared to that for individual chemical species.

Short summary
Particulate matter levels were monitored at six major roadway intersections in the Kathmandu Valley during two seasons in 2014. The study documented distinct seasonal (dry season versus wet season) and diel variations in particulate matter levels. This study suggests traffic-related emissions, and soil–dust–construction materials were found to be a major source of particulate matter at these locations.
Final-revised paper