This paper reports the first field deployment and testing of a directional passive air sampler (DPAS) which can be used to cost-effectively identify and quantify air pollutants and their sources. The sampler was used for ambient nitrogen dioxide (NO2) over ten weeks from twelve directional sectors in an urban setting, and tested alongside an automatic chemiluminescent monitor. The time-integrated passive directional results were compared with the directional analysis of the active monitoring results using wind data recorded at a weather station. The DPAS discriminated air pollutant signals directionally. The attempts to derive quantitative data yielded reasonable results—usually within a factor of two of those obtained by the chemiluminescent analyser. Ultimately, whether DPAS approaches are adopted will depend on their reliability, added value and cost. It is argued that added value was obtained here from the DPAS approach applied in a routine monitoring situation, by identifying source sectors. Both the capital and running costs of DPAS were <5% of those for the automatic monitor. It is envisaged that different sorbents or sampling media will enable this rotatable DPAS design to be used for other airborne pollutants. In summary, there are reasons to be optimistic that directional passive air sampling, together with careful interpretation of results, will be of added value to air quality practitioners in future.
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