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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  11 Aug 2020

11 Aug 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

A comparison of PM2.5-bound polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in summer Beijing (China) and Delhi (India)

Atallah Elzein1, Gareth J. Stewart1, Stefan J. Swift1, Beth S. Nelson1, Leigh R. Crilley2,a, Mohammed S. Alam2, Ernesto Reyes-Villegas3, Ranu Gadi4, Roy M. Harrison2,b, Jacqueline F. Hamilton1, and Alastair C. Lewis5 Atallah Elzein et al.
  • 1Wolfson Atmospheric Chemistry Laboratories, Department of Chemistry, University of York, York, YO10 5DD, United Kingdom
  • 2Division of Environmental Health & Risk Management, School of Geography, Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, B15 2TT, United Kingdom
  • 3Department of Earth and Environmental Science, The University of Manchester, Manchester, M13 9PL, United Kingdom
  • 4Indira Gandhi Delhi Technical University for Women, New Delhi, 110006, India
  • 5National Centre for Atmospheric Science, University of York, York, YO10 5DD, United Kingdom
  • acurrently at: Department of Chemistry, York University, Toronto, ON, Canada
  • balso at: Department of Environmental Sciences/Center of Excellence in Environmental Studies, King Abdulaziz University, PO Box 80203, Jeddah, 21589, Saudi Arabia

Abstract. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are ubiquitous pollutants in air, soil and water and known to have harmful effects on human health and the environment. The diurnal and nocturnal variation of 17-PAHs in ambient particle-bound PAHs were measured in urban Beijing (China) and Delhi (India) during the summer season using GC-Q-TOF-MS. The mean concentration of particles less than 2.5 microns (PM2.5) observed in Delhi was 3.6 times higher than in Beijing during the measurement period in both the day-time and night-time. In Beijing, the mean concentration of the sum of the 17 PAHs (∑17-PAHs) was 8.2 ± 5.1 ng m−3 in daytime, with the highest contribution from Indeno[1,2,3-cd]pyrene (12 %), while at night-time the total PAHs was 7.2 ± 2.0 ng m−3, with the largest contribution from Benzo[b]fluoranthene (14 %). In Delhi, the mean ∑17-PAHs was 13.6 ± 5.9 ng m−3 in daytime, and 22.7 ± 9.4 ng m−3 at night-time, with the largest contribution from Indeno[1,2,3-cd]pyrene in both the day (17 %) and night (20 %). Elevated mean concentrations of total PAHs in Delhi observed at night were attributed to emissions from vehicles and biomass burning and to meteorological conditions leading to their accumulation from a stable and low atmospheric boundary layer. Local emission sources were typically identified as the major contributors to total measured PAHs, however, in Delhi 25 % of the emissions were attributed to long-range atmospheric transport. Major emission sources were characterized based on the contribution from each class of PAHs, with the 4, 5, and 6 ring PAHs accounting ~ 95 % of the total PM2.5-bound PAHs mass in both locations. The high contribution of 5 ring PAHs to total PAH concentration in summer Beijing and Delhi suggests a high contribution from petroleum combustion. In Delhi, a high contribution from 6 ring PAHs was observed at night, suggesting a potential emission source from the combustion of fuel and oil in power generators, widely used in Delhi. The lifetime excess lung cancer risk (LECR) was calculated for Beijing and Delhi, with the highest estimated risk attributed to Delhi (LECR = 155 per million people), 2.2 times higher than Beijing risk assessment value (LECR = 70 per million people). Finally, we have assessed the emission control policies in each city and identified those major sectors that could be subject to mitigation measures.

Atallah Elzein et al.

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Short summary
We collected high frequency air particle samples (PM2.5) in Beijing (China) and Delhi (India), and we compared the concentration of PAHs in day- and night-time. PAHs were higher in Delhi than Beijing, and the 5 ring PAHs (representative of vehicle emissions) contribute the most to the total PAH concentration. We compared the emission sources and we identified the major sectors that could be subject to mitigation measures. PAH cancer risk estimation in Delhi was 2.2 times higher than Beijing.
We collected high frequency air particle samples (PM2.5) in Beijing (China) and Delhi (India),...