This study was carried out to characterize the occurrence and concentrations of a variety of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) including aliphatic, aromatic, halogenated, nitrogenous, and carbonyl compounds, in the ambient air of Gumi City, where a large number of electronics industries are found. Two field monitoring campaigns were conducted for a one year period in 2003/2004 and 2010/2011 at several sampling sites in the city, representing industrial, residential and commercial areas. More than 80 individual compounds were determined in this study, and important compounds were then identified according to their abundance, ubiquity and toxicity. The monitoring data revealed toluene, trichloroethylene and acetaldehyde to be the most significant air toxics in the city, and their major sources were mainly industrial activities. On the other hand, there was no clear evidence of an industrial impact on the concentrations of benzene and formaldehyde in the ambient air of the city. Overall, seasonal variations were not as distinct as locational variations in the VOCs concentrations, whereas the within-day variations showed a typical pattern of urban air pollution, i.e.
, increase in the morning, decrease in the afternoon, and an increase again in the evening. Considerable decreases in the concentrations of VOCs from 2003 to 2011 were observed. The reductions in the ambient concentrations were confirmed further by the Korean PRTR data in industrial emissions within the city. Significant decreases in the concentrations of benzene and acetaldehyde were also noted, whereas formaldehyde appeared to be almost constant between the both campaigns. The decreased trends in the ambient levels were attributed not only to the stricter regulations for VOCs in Korea, but also to the voluntary agreement of major companies to reduce the use of organic solvents. In addition, a site planning project for an eco-friendly industrial complex is believed to play a contributory role in improving the air quality of the city.
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