This paper presents results of an atmospheric particulate matter (PM) monitoring and source apportionment study conducted during summer and fall 2010 in Cairo. These results are compared to those of similar studies in 1999 and 2002. Concentrations of PM2.5 and PM10 mass and their chemical constituents were determined and chemical mass balance modeling was conducted to estimate the source contributions to ambient PM. Emphasis was placed on characterizing the long-term trends in atmospheric lead (Pb) concentrations and their sources in Cairo. PM2.5 and PM10 concentrations were highest during fall 1999 at four of the five study sites. This was also the case for open (vegetative/trash) burning contributions, which showed a smaller increase during fall 2010. Burning of agricultural waste after the fall harvest continues to be a major source of PM in Cairo. Both PM2.5 and PM10 mass decreased dramatically at Shobra, an industrial site, from 1999 to 2010. A reduction of lead smelting has resulted in a decrease of ambient Pb concentrations of up to two orders of magnitude from 1999 to 2010 at Shobra, El-Zamalek, and El-Qualaly. From 1999 to 2010, the mobile source contribution has been relatively stable at most of the study sites. Future efforts to reduce ambient PM should focus on controlling emissions from motor vehicles and open burning and implementing mitigation strategies for reducing resuspended road and construction dust.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Abu-Allaban M, Gertler AW, Lowenthal DH (2002) A preliminary apportionment of the sources of ambient PM10, PM2.5, and VOCs in Cairo. Atmos Environ 36:5549–5557
Abu-Allaban M, Lowenthal DH, Gertler AW, Labib M (2007) Sources of PM10 and PM2.5 in Cairo’s ambient air. Environ Monit Assess 133:417–425
Chan CK, Yao X (2008) Air pollution in mega cities in China. Atmos Environ 42(1):1–42
Chemonics International Inc. (1997) Cairo air improvement project, draft year 1 work plan. Report prepared for USAID/Egypt and Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency, October 14, 1997
Chow JC, Watson JG (1999) Cross border transport and spatial variability in Mexicali and California’s Imperial Valley. Atmos Environ 34:1833–1843
Chow JC, Watson JG, Lowenthal DH, Solomon PA, Magliano KL, Ziman SD, Richards LW (1992) PM10 source apportionment in California’s San Joaquin Valley. Atmos Environ 26A(18):3335–3354
Chow J, Watson J, Pritchett L, Pierson W, Frazier C, Purcell R (1993) The DRI thermal/optical carbon analysis system: description, evaluation and applications in U.S. air quality studies. Atmos Environ 27A:1185–1202
Chow JC, Watson JG, Houck JE, Pritchett LC, Rogers CF, Frazier CA, Egami RT, Ball BM (1994) A laboratory resuspension chamber to measure fugitive dust size distributions and chemical compositions. Atmos Environ 28(21):3463–3481
Chow JC, Watson JG, Edgerton SA, Vega E, Ortiz E (2002) Spatial differences in outdoor PM10 mass and aerosol composition in Mexico City. J Air Waste Manag Assoc 52:423–434
Chow JC, Watson JG, Lowenthal DH, Chen LWA, Zielinska B, Rinehart LR, Magliano KL (2007) Evaluation of organic markers for chemical mass balance source apportionment at the Fresno Supersite. Atmos Chem Phys 7:1741–1754
El-Shazly SM, Abdelmageed AM, Abdelaal A (1990) Studies on pollution in the atmosphere near the aluminum reduction plant at Nagi Hammady/Egypt. Water Air Soil Pollut 51:217–230
Favez O, Cachier H, Sciare J, Alfaro SC, El-Araby TM, Harhash MA, Abdelwahab MM (2008) Seasonality of major aerosol species and their transformations in Cairo megacity. Atmos Environ 42:1503–1516
Hindy KT (1991) Study of alluvial soil contamination with heavy metals due to air pollution in Cairo. Int J Environ Stud 38:273–279
Howes JE, Serre ML, Labib M, Samaha N, Sabra M, Araby H (2000) Ambient PM and lead levels in Cairo, Egypt: baseline year monitoring results. Paper 449 AWMA National Meeting, Salt Lake City
Mamane Y, Gottlieb J (1992) Nitrate formation on sea-salt and mineral particles—A single particle approach. Atmos Environ 26A:1763–1769
Marey HS, Gille JC, El-Askary HM, Shalaby EA, El-Raey ME (2010) Study of the formation of the “black cloud” and its dynamics over Cairo, Egypt, using MODIS and MISR sensors. J Geophys Res 115:D21206. doi:10.1029/2010JD014384
Marey HS, Gille JC, El-Askary HM, Shalaby EA, El-Raey ME (2011) Aerosol climatology over Nile Delta based on MODIS, MISR and OMI satellite data. Atmos Chem Phys Discuss 11:10449–10484
Nasralla MM (1994) Air pollution in greater Cairo. In: Proceeding of the Italian–Egyptian study-days on the environment, Cairo, Egypt, October 9–20, 1994
Pye K (1989) Aeolian dust and dust deposits. Academic Press, San Diego, p 334
Rodes CE, Nasralla MM, Lawless PA (1996) An assessment and source apportionment of airborne particulate matter in Cairo, Egypt. Activity report No. 22, prepared for the USAID mission to Egypt under EHP activity No. 133-RCm delivery order No. 7
Sturchio N, Sultan M, Sharkaway ME, Maghraby AE, Taher A (1997) Concentration and isotopic composition of lead in urban particulate air, Cairo, Egypt 1966. Argonne National laboratory, Argonne, IL, and Center for Environmental Hazard Mitigation, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt
Tiwari S, Chate DM, Srivastava AK, Bisht DS, Padmanabhamurty B (2012) Assessments of PM1, PM2.5 and PM10 concentrations in Delhi at different mean cycles. Geofizika 29:125–141
U.S. EPA (2008) SPECIATE version 4.2. U.S. environmental protection agency, Research Triangle Park, NC. http://www.epa.gov/ttn/chief/software/speciate/index.html
Vega E, Lowenthal DH, Ruiz H, Reyes E, Watson JG, Chow JC, Viana M, Querol X, Alastuey A (2009) Fine particle receptor modeling in the atmosphere of Mexico City. J Air Waste Manag Assoc 59:1417–1428
Watson JG, Cooper JA, Huntzicker JJ (1984) The effective variance weighting for least squares calculations applied to the mass balance receptor model. Atmos Environ 18:1347–1355
Watson JG, Chow JC, Lu Z, Fujita EM, Lowenthal DH, Lawson DR, Ashbaugh LL (1994) Chemical mass balance source apportionment of PM10 during the Southern California Air Quality Study. Aerosol Sci Technol 21:1–36
We wish to acknowledge the support of the World Bank Group, contract 7154499 and the efforts of Maged Hamed and Suiko Yoshijima of the World Bank and Moustafa Mourad and Mona Kamal of the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency. We also thank Dr. Mahmoud Abu-Allaban who contributed to the 1999 and 2002 CAIP studies.
Electronic supplementary material
Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.
Rights and permissions
About this article
Cite this article
Lowenthal, D.H., Gertler, A.W. & Labib, M.W. Particulate matter source apportionment in Cairo: recent measurements and comparison with previous studies. Int. J. Environ. Sci. Technol. 11, 657–670 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13762-013-0272-6
- Particulate matter
- Source apportionment
- Lead smelter