Sixteen-year air quality data analysis of a high environmental risk area in Southern Italy
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The Brindisi area is characterized by the presence of industries with high environmental impact, located along its eastern border. Epidemiological studies have revealed several critical situations: two short-term (2003–2005) epidemiological studies have shown that PM10 and NO2 are adversely associated with daily hospital admissions: one of the two pointed to the associations with wind blowing from the southern, eastern and western sectors. This study aims to expand the time span of available air quality data in order to provide a more complete and extensive epidemiological study. Multi-year series (from 1992 to 2007) of SO2, NO2, and TSP concentration data are presented and analyzed. Data show a significant downward trend of SO2 from 1992 to 2007, while for the TSP series, the downward trend is limited to the period 1992–1994. Marked seasonal trends are evident for all three pollutants, especially for NO2 and TSP. The NO2 series shows higher levels in winter. Inversely, the TSP series shows its maximum values during the summer months, associated with a moderate correlation with temperature and a poor correlation with other pollutants. Analysis of the series for wind sectors revealed the influence of the industrial site and of the harbor. The concentration series exhibit high concentration values and stronger correlations between them and with meteorology for wind blowing from the eastern sectors. Overall analysis supports the hypothesis of a different origin for TSP during the year and for different wind regimes and therefore possible size and chemical differences in TSP, which should be further investigated due to their health implications.
KeywordsTotal suspended particulate Nitrogen dioxide Wind directions Brindisi Urban and industrial pollution
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