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Chemical composition, oxidative potential and identifying the sources of outdoor PM2.5 after the improvement of air quality in Beijing

Abstract

Air pollution poses a serious threat to human health. The implementation of air pollution prevention and control policies has gradually reduced the level of atmospheric fine particles in Beijing. Exploring the latest characteristics of PM2.5 has become the key to further improving pollution reduction measures. In the current study, outdoor PM2.5 samples were collected in the spring and summer of Beijing, and the chemical species, oxidative potential (OP), and sources of PM2.5 were characterized. The mean PM2.5 concentration during the entire study period was 41.6 ± 30.9 μg m−3. Although the PM2.5 level in summer was lower, its OP level was significantly higher than that in spring. SO42–, NH4+, EC, NO3–, and OC correlated well with volume-normalized OP (OPv). Strong positive correlations were found between OPv and the following elements: Cu, Pb, Zn, Ni, As, Cr, Sn, Cd, Al, and Mn. Seven sources of PM2.5 were identified, including traffic, soil dust, secondary sulfate, coal and biomass burning, oil combustion, secondary nitrate, and industry. Multiple regression analysis indicated that coal and biomass combustion, industry, and traffic were the main contributors to the OPv in spring, while secondary sulfate, oil combustion, and industry played a leading role in summer. The source region analysis revealed that different pollution sources were related to specific geographic distributions. In addition to local emission reduction policies, multi-provincial cooperation is necessary to further improve Beijing's air quality and reduce the adverse health effects of PM2.5.

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source to OPv in spring b and summer c

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Data availability

The Meteorological and PBLH data analyzed in this study were provided by the Chinese National Meteorological Science Data Center (http://data.cma.cn) and the European Center of Medium-Range Weather Forecasts Reanalysis v5 (https://www.ecmwf.int/).

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Funding

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (21806183 and 51808549).

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LL: Conceptualization, Methodology, Investigation, Writing- Original draft preparation, LL and WW: Funding acquisition. LL, LZ and HC: Data curation. LL, WW, JJ, XM, and CS: Writing- Reviewing and Editing.

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Correspondence to Wei Wen.

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Liu, L., Zhang, L., Wen, W. et al. Chemical composition, oxidative potential and identifying the sources of outdoor PM2.5 after the improvement of air quality in Beijing. Environ Geochem Health (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10653-022-01275-z

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Keywords

  • PM2.5
  • Oxidative potential
  • Elements
  • Source apportionment
  • Potential source contribution function