Air Quality Study In Nairobi Metropolitan Area: Application Of Energy Dispersive X-Ray Fluorescence And Chemical Mass Balance Model.


National Council for Science and Technology

Air pollution constitutes a widespread problem affecting millions exposed to high levels of air pollution that exceed one or more ambient limit values. One of these air pollutants is the airborne particulate matter (PM), which is composed of a broad class of chemically and physically diverse substances. PM varies in size, chemical composition, formation mechanism and origin. In order to formulate mitigation policies and control measures, we need to identify their sources. In the recent past Nairobi Metropolitan area has gone through rapid and haphazard urbanization. The urban center has seen a huge unprecedented increase in number of vehicles, rapid establishment of industries, uncontrolled burning of biomass among other anthropogenic activities, which contribute heavily to air pollution within the metropolitan area. This study was carried out at the urban and industrial sites of Nairobi area. Airborne PM samples were collected on filter media using BGI 400 personal samplers at selected sites in Nairobi Metropolitan area. The measurement of PM2.5 at the selected sites was done throughout the day. Analysis of trace elements in PM2.5 samples was done using EDXRF spectrometer and Quantitative X-ray Analysis System (QXAS) was used for spectra analysis and elemental quantification. Chemical Mass Balance (CMB) model is useful in understanding the chemical and physical characteristics of air pollutants by identifying their sources and by estimating contributions of each source to receptor concentrations. It was therefore used to identify sources of sampled PM2.5 and apportion contribution to evaluated concentrations in ambient air of Nairobi Metropolitan area. This study was aiming at measuring outdoor PM concentration levels, determining trace element levels in PM, identifying the possible sources of the aerosol composites within the metropolitan area and thus providing current air quality information to relevant local authorities and policy makers.

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