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Ambient air quality in the holy city of Makkah: A source apportionment with elemental enrichment factors (EFs) and factor analysis (PMF)

Nayebare, Shedrack R., Aburizaiza, Omar S., Siddique, Azhar, Carpenter, David O., Hussain, Mirza M., Zeb, Jahan, Aburiziza, Abdullah J., Khwaja, Haider A.
Environmental pollution 2018 v.243 pp. 1791-1801
World Health Organization, air pollution, air quality, aluminum, bromine, burning, calcium, carbon, chromium, combustion, copper, dust, emissions, factor analysis, guidelines, human health, iron, lead, magnesium, manganese, nickel, particulates, pollution control, potassium, public health, rubidium, seasonal variation, silicon, sodium, soil, strontium, wind direction, zinc, zirconium, Saudi Arabia
Air pollution remains a major global public health and environmental issue. We assessed the levels of PM2.5 and delineated the major sources in Makkah, Saudi Arabia. Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) sampling was performed from February 26, 2014–January 27, 2015 in four cycles/seasons. Samples were analyzed for black carbon (BC) and trace elements (TEs). PM2.5 source apportionment was performed by computing enrichment factors (EFs) and positive matrix factorization (PMF). Backward-in time trajectories were used to assess the long-range transport. Significant seasonal variations in PM2.5 were observed, Spring: 113 ± 67.1, Summer: 88.3 ± 36.4, Fall: 67.8 ± 24, and Winter: 67.6 ± 36.9 μg m−3. The 24-h PM2.5 exceeded the WHO (25 μg m−3) and Saudi Arabia's (35 μg m−3) guidelines, with an air quality index (AQI) of “unhealthy to hazardous” to human health. Most delta–C computations were below zero, indicating minor contributions from bio-mass burning. TEs were primarily Si, Ca, Fe, Al, S, K and Mg, suggesting major contributions from soil (Si, Ca, Fe, Al, Mg), and industrial and vehicular emissions (S, Ca, Al, Fe, K). EF defined two broad categories of TEs as: anthropogenic (Cu, Zn, Eu, Cl, Pb, S, Br and Lu), and earth-crust derived (Al, Si, Na, Mg, Rb, K, Zr, Ti, Fe, Mn, Sr, Y, Cr, Ga, Ca, Ni and Ce). Notably, all the anthropogenic TEs can be linked to industrial and vehicular emissions. PMF analysis defined four major sources as: vehicular emissions, 30.1%; industrial-mixed dust, 28.9%; soil/earth-crust, 24.7%; and fossil-fuels/oil combustion, 16.3%. Plots of wind trajectories indicated wind direction and regional transport as major influences on air pollution levels in Makkah. In collusion, anthropogenic emissions contributed >75% of the observed air pollution in Makkah. Developing strategies for reducing anthropogenic emissions are paramount to controlling particulate air pollution in this region.