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Air Dispersion Modelling of Coal Particles Released During Handling of Cargo at Port


Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) handles 1087 t/h of coal with the help of 6 mooring dolphins situated at around 600-m distance in sea from the port next to the city of Vasco da Gama, Goa, India. During the said operations, the particles are released at lower height (2 to 5 m from sea water level) unlike other emissions. Since the city is situated next to the port, particles released during the handling of coal reach the Vasco city due to dispersion and affect health of the people in the city. The objective of this study was to identify the key variables which affect the dispersion of the particles released during coal loading and unloading operations. Detailed simulation studies are carried out to study the effect of wind speed, atmospheric temperature, atmospheric humidity, moisture content of coal, and the release height of the material from cranes, on dispersion of particles. For this purpose AERMOD software was used. All the necessary data required for the study was collected from Mormugao Port Trust, Vasco, Goa. Wind speed and moisture content of materials are key variables identified as they influence the dispersion significantly. With wind speeds greater than 8 m/s, the concentrations of PM10 and PM2.5 exceed beyond permissible limits up to 1 km radius. Variation in release height from 1 to 3 m does not have significant effect on particle dispersion. Change in atmospheric temperature and atmospheric humidity has no influence on dispersion of particles. The model results are validated with the field data obtained during the actual handling of coal at Mormugao Port Trust.

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We are grateful to Goa Pollution Control Board for facilitating the measurement of ambient air quality (PM10 and PM2.5). Authors acknowledge support from management of BITS Pilani K. K. Birla Goa campus during this project. The authors are grateful to Mr Arijit Chakraborty and Mr Prabhakar Sarode for their inputs and support during this project.


This project received funding from Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) (Grant No 45000226463)..

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All authors have contributed.

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Correspondence to Manjare Sampatrao.

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Manjare, S., Bandekar, N. & Satish, A. Air Dispersion Modelling of Coal Particles Released During Handling of Cargo at Port. Environ Model Assess 26, 371–383 (2021).

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  • Air pollution
  • Dispersion modelling
  • PM10
  • PM2.5
  • Wind speed
  • Relative humidity