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Characterization and Source identification of Atmospheric Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Visakhapatnam, India

Author Affiliations

  • 1 GITAM Institute of Science, GITAM University, Visakhapatnam-530 045, INDIA
  • 2 Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Section, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Trombay, Mumbai-400085, INDIA

Int. Res. J. Environment Sci., Volume 3, Issue (11), Pages 57-64, November,22 (2014)


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are considered to be hazardous atmospheric contaminants due to their carcinogenic and mutagenic properties. In the present study, 16 particle bound polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons were determined in air particulate matter samples (PM10)collected during March 2010 to February 2011 at an industrial cum residential area in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. The samples were investigated for atmospheric concentrations, seasonal variation and potent sources of PAHs. Particulate matter samples were collected on glass fiber filter papers using high Volume Sampler and analyzed by HPLC/UV-VIS detector. The annual concentrations of total PAHs varied between 23.3 to 104.9 ngm-3. The dominating PAHs were Acy, Ace, Phen, Pyr, B(ghi)P, B(a)P, and B(k)F. The PAHs concentrations were found to be elevated in winter than summer and monsoon. The total PAHs concentration during winter was about twice than the concentrations in summer and about 2.6 times higher than the concentration in monsoon. Higher PAHs concentrations in winter were mainly due to the privileged meteorological conditions in winter. The two and three ring PAHs were predominant than four, five and six ring PAHs and contributed to about 56% of total PAHs. The correlation studies showed that meteorological conditions such as temperature, relative humidity and rainfall strongly affected the PAHs concentrations. Principal component analysis (PCA) studies of the data indicated that coal combustion, diesel and gasoline powered vehicular emissions, lubricating oil burning and stationary sources like steel plant were the major sources of PAHs at study site.


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