A review on recent progress in observations, sources, classification and regulations of PM2.5 in Asian environments

Abstract

Natural and human activities generate a significant amount of PM2.5 (particles ≤2.5 μm in aerodynamic diameter) into the surrounding atmospheric environments. Because of their small size, they can remain suspended for a relatively longer time in the air than coarse particles and thus can travel long distances in the atmosphere. PM2.5 is one of the key indicators of pollution and known to cause numerous types of respiratory and lung-related diseases. Due to poor implementation of regulations and a time lag in introducing the vehicle technology, levels of PM2.5 in most Asian cities are much worse than those in European environments. Dedicated reviews on understanding the characteristics of PM2.5 in Asian urban environments are currently missing but much needed. In order to fill the existing gaps in the literature, the aim of this review article is to describe dominating sources and their classification, followed by current status and health impact of PM2.5, in Asian countries. Further objectives include a critical synthesis of the topics such as secondary and tertiary aerosol formation, chemical composition, monitoring and modelling methods, source apportionment, emissions and exposure impacts. The review concludes with the synthesis of regulatory guidelines and future perspectives for PM2.5 in Asian countries. A critical synthesis of literature suggests a lack of exposure and monitoring studies to inform personal exposure in the household and rural areas of Asian environments.

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Acknowledgments

We are thankful to Dr. Narendra Kumar Arora, Executive Director of International Clinical Epidemiology Network (INCLEN), New Delhi, India, for providing us with the required funding and research-related facilities to complete this critical review. We also thank anonymous reviewers for their time to read the article.

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Correspondence to Chuen-Jinn Tsai.

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Gautam, S., Yadav, A., Tsai, C. et al. A review on recent progress in observations, sources, classification and regulations of PM2.5 in Asian environments. Environ Sci Pollut Res 23, 21165–21175 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-016-7515-2

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Keywords

  • PM2.5
  • Asian environment
  • Human health impact
  • Air pollution exposure