This study attempts to determine the influence of air quality in a residential area near a medical waste incineration plant. Ambient air concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), PM10 and PM2.5 (PM-particulate matter) were determined by collecting air samples in areas both upwind and downwind of the plant. The differences in air pollutant levels between the study area and a reference area 11 km away from the plant were evaluated. Dichotomous samplers were used for sampling PM2.5 and PM10 from ambient air. Two hundred and twenty samples were obtained from the study area, and 100 samples were taken from a reference area. Samples were weighed by an electronic microbalance and concentrations of PM2.5 and PM10 were determined. A HPLC equipped with a fluorescence detector was employed to analyze the concentrations of 15 PAHs compounds adsorbed into PM2.5 and PM10. The experimental results indicated that the average concentrations of PM2.5 and PM10 were 30.34±17.95 and 36.81±20.45 μg m-3, respectively, in the study area, while the average ratio of PM2.5/PM10 was 0.82±0.01. The concentrations of PM2.5 and PM10 of the study area located downwind of the incinerator were significantly higher than the study area upwind of the incinerator (P<0.05). The concentration of PAHs in PM2.5 in the study area was 2.2 times higher than in the reference area (P<0.05). Furthermore, the benzo(a)pyrene concentrations in PM2.5 and PM10 were 0.11±0.05 ng m-3 and 0.12±0.06 ng m-3 in the study area, respectively. The benzo(a)pyrene concentrations of PM2.5 and PM10 in the study area were 7 and 5.3 times higher than in the reference area (P<0.05), respectively. The study indicated that the air quality of PM2.5, PM10 and PAHs had significant contamination by air pollutants emitted from a medical waste incineration factory, representing a public health problem for nearby residences, despite the factory being equipped with a modern air pollution control system.
- Medical waste incinerator
- Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons