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PM2.5 concentration and composition in the urban air of Nanjing, China: Effects of emission control measures applied during the 2014 Youth Olympic Games

Industrial processes, coal combustion, biomass burning (BB), and vehicular transport are important sources of atmospheric fine particles (PM2.5) and contribute to ambient air concentrations of health-hazardous species, such as heavymetals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), and oxygenated-PAHs (OPAH). In China, emission controls have been implemented to improve air quality during large events, like the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in August 2014 in Nanjing. In this work, six measurement campaigns between January 2014 and August 2015were undertaken in Nanjing to determine the effects of emission controls andmeteorological factors on PM2.5 concentration and composition. PAHs, OPAHs, hopanes, n‑alkanes, heavy metals, and several other inorganic elements were measured. PM2.5 and potassium concentrations were the highest in May–June 2014 indicating the prevalence of BB plumes in Nanjing. Emission controls substantially reduced concentrations of PM2.5 (31%), total PAHs (59%), OPAHs (37%), and most heavy metals (44–89%) during the YOG compared to August 2015. In addition, regional atmospheric transport and meteorological parameters partly explained the observed differences between the campaigns. The most abundant PAHs and OPAHs were benzo[b,k]fluoranthenes, fluoranthene,pyrene, chrysene, 1,8‑naphthalic anhydride, and 9,10‑anthracenedione in all campaigns. Carbon preference index and the contribution of wax n‑alkanes indicated mainly biogenic sources of n‑alkanes in May–June 2014 and anthropogenic sources in the other campaigns. Hopane indexes pointed to vehicular transport as the major source of hopanes, but contribution of coal combustion was detected in winter 2015. The results provide evidence to the local government of the impacts of the air protection regulations. However, differences between individual components were observed, e.g., concentrations of potentially more harmful OPAHs decreased less than concentrations of PAHs. The results suggest that the proportions of hazardous components in the PM2.5 may also change considerably due to emission control measures.


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