Chemical fingerprints for pm2.5 in the ambient air near a raw material storage site for iron ore, coal, limestone, and sinter

Kavita Justus Mutuku, Yen Yi Lee, Guo Ping Chang-Chien, Sheng Lun Lin, Wei Hsin Chen, Wen Che Hou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To understand the contributions of a raw material storage site for iron ore, coal, limestone, and sinter to ambient air fine particulate matter (PM2.5), the concentrations and chemical fingerprints for resuspended and ambient air PM2.5 were compared. Investigations were done for 15 piles of raw materials, including 5 iron piles, 5 coal piles, 3 stone piles, and a single pile each for coke and sinter. Additionally, four sites, including A, B, C, and D, in the storage site surroundings were chosen to investigate the ambient air PM2.5 concentrations. The concentrations, compositions, and i and j values for PM2.5 varied significantly by season in the four sites under investigation. The chemical fingerprints of the PM2.5 showed that water-soluble ions were the most important component in all sites. Specifically, SO42– and NO3 were the predominant water-soluble ions in winter and summer, respectively. The most dominant components in the iron ore, coal, limestone, coke, and sinter piles were iron, carbon, Ca2+ and carbon, carbon and SO42–, and Fe and Ca2+, respectively. During the summer, PM2.5 concentrations ranged from 13.7–18.0 µg m–3, where the chemical composition of water-soluble ions, metals, carbon accounted for 54.2%, 5.7%, and 23.7% respectively. During winter, the concentrations ranged from 44.7–48.0 µg m–3, where the water-soluble ions, metals, carbon components accounted for 49.2%, 8.1%, and 17.4% respectively. From the chemical mass balance, the main sources of PM2.5 in sites B, C, and D were stationary sources, mobile sources, and secondary organic aerosols. To effectively address the air pollution threat associated with the surroundings of a raw material storage site, the environmental protection agency should formulate measures to effectively reduce the contribution of resuspended dust and other pollution sources to ambient air PM2.5.

Original languageEnglish
Article number200624
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalAerosol and Air Quality Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution

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