Elemental composition of tropospheric aerosols in Hanoi, Vietnam and Nairobi, Kenya.
Journal article, 2005
Air pollution problems in major cities within the developing countries need to be studied. There are scanty measurements from the developing countries on airborne particles despite their adverse implications to human health, visibility and climate. One of the major sources of anthropogenic air pollution is energy production. Energy demand is bound to increase as population increases, especially in major cities of the world. Fine particles, particles with aerodynamic diameter < or = 2.5 microm, are mainly anthropogenic and these particles were collected in the capital cities of Vietnam and Kenya. A cyclone airborne particle collector was used to sample in Hanoi during the months of May to October 2000 and a dichotomous virtual impactor in Nairobi in February 2000. The samples were analysed for elemental content by an energy dispersive X-ray fluorescence (EDXRF) spectrometer. S, Cl, K and Fe exceeded atmospheric concentrations of 100 ng m(-3) at both cities. Atmospheric elemental concentrations in both Hanoi and Nairobi were orders of magnitude higher than their respective rural towns. Traffic, biomass and waste burning emissions were implicated as the main sources of air pollution in Nairobi, while coal combustion and road transport were the major sources in Hanoi. Regional air pollution had a major impact over Hanoi, whereas an influence of that kind was not identified in Nairobi. Pb and other toxic elements had concentration levels below WHO guideline, however, the two cities are threatened by future high levels of air pollution due to the high rate of population growth. Long-term measurements are required in both areas to evaluate if the alarming situation is deteriorating.