Case study of PM pollution in playgrounds in Istanbul
In a world where at least 50% of the population is living in urban environments, air pollution and specifically particulate matter (PM) have become one of the most critical issues for human health. Children are more susceptible than adults to air pollution and its adverse effects because they inhale and retain larger amounts of air pollutants per unit of body weight. In this study, PM pollution, particularly PM10 and PM2.5, at selected playgrounds were investigated in Istanbul city. Istanbul is a megacity of over 15 million inhabitants, and on-road traffic is increasing rapidly (over 3 million vehicles on the road). To estimate the effect of traffic emissions on children, the location of the playgrounds were selected according to traffic density. Measurements were carried out at five different playgrounds throughout the city in 2009. Field results show that the values of PM10 and PM2.5 have reached critical limits at the playgrounds close to the main roads, especially at P-1. Thus, we focused on this location and investigated a source other than traffic emissions. One of the episode days has been observed on 5–7 March 2009. Evaluations of meteorological events are very important to determine air pollution sources and their long-range transport. Therefore, the Weather Research and Forecasting model (WRF) was used to simulate and forecast meteorological parameters and the hybrid single-particle Lagrangian integrated trajectory (HYSPLIT) applied to investigate long-range transport. According to the WRF model outputs, there was a low-pressure system over Geneva gulf on the 500-hPa level, and its core had been located over Britain on 5 March 2009 00UTC. The system had been sweeping dust from the Sahara Desert and carrying the air particles over Istanbul. Similarly, backward HYSPLIT analysis showed that air particles had moved through Istanbul from Northern Africa.
KeywordsDense Traffic Sahara Desert Global Forecast System Data World Health Organization Assessment Health Organization Assessment
This study is supported by the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK—CAYDAG, Project no. 108Y173).
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