Assessment of the long-term impacts of PM10 and PM2.5 particles from construction works on surrounding areas†
Construction activities are common across cities; however, the studies assessing their contribution to airborne PM10 (≤10 μm) and PM2.5 (≤2.5 μm) particles on the surrounding air quality are limited. Herein, we assessed the impact of PM10 and PM2.5 arising from construction works in and around London. Measurements were carried out at 17 different monitoring stations around three construction sites between January 2002 and December 2013. Tapered element oscillating microbalance (TEOM 1400) and OSIRIS (2315) particle monitors were used to measure the PM10 and PM2.5 fractions in the 0.1–10 μm size range along with the ambient meteorological data. The data was analysed using bivariate concentration polar plots and k-means clustering techniques. Daily mean concentrations of PM10 were found to exceed the European Union target limit value of 50 μg m−3 at 11 monitoring stations but remained within the allowable 35 exceedences per year, except at two monitoring stations. In general, construction works were found to influence the downwind concentrations of PM10 relatively more than PM2.5. Splitting of the data between working (0800–1800 h; local time) and non-working (1800–0800 h) periods showed about 2.2-fold higher concentrations of PM10 during working hours when compared with non-working hours. However, these observations did not allow to conclude that this increase was from the construction site emissions. Together, the polar concentration plots and the k-means cluster analysis applied to a pair of monitoring stations across the construction sites (i.e. one in upwind and the other in downwind) confirmed the contribution of construction sources on the measured concentrations. Furthermore, pairing the monitoring stations downwind of the construction sites showed a logarithmic decrease (with R2 about 0.9) in the PM10 and PM2.5 concentration with distance. Our findings clearly indicate an impact of construction activities on the nearby downwind areas and a need for developing mitigation measures to limit their escape from the construction sites.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts 2016 Most Downloaded Articles