Advances in Urban Air Pollution

A special issue of Environments (ISSN 2076-3298).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 25 August 2024 | Viewed by 8316

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
National Institute for Environmental Studies (NIES), 16-2 Onogawa, Tsukuba 305-8506, Ibaraki, Japan
Interests: environmental epidemiology; air pollution exposure; fireworks pollution; indoor air quality

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Guest Editor
1. Department of Marine Environment and Engineering, National Sun Yat-sen University, Kaohsiung 80424, Taiwan
2. School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK
Interests: air pollution exposure; air pollution in China; fireworks pollution; heritage climatology
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Air pollution often results from high-density and high-frequency activities including emissions from motor vehicles, power plants, chemical industries, and other activities, especially in urban areas. Many epidemiological studies have shown that exposure to air pollutants such as particulate matter (PM) can lead to respiratory and circulatory health problems. Urban air pollution and its variation and controlled management is still a significant scientific and environmental policy issue around the world, as variation in air pollutants is complicated due to chemical reactions and human activities. Relevant research continues to be needed in these and related interacting fields to facilitate the understanding of air pollutant variation for improving urban air quality on both local and international scales.

This Special Issue is interested in contributions associated with the understanding and improvement of air pollution in urban areas. There will be a special focus on pollution from cultural activities such as sport or the use of incense and fireworks and new policy developments for controlling the air quality. Studies may model the transport of air pollutants; analyze air pollution impacts; examine new technologies of source reduction or emission control; and quantify the diverse sources of air pollutants and their impacts. Investigations on the effects of cultural activities on indoor air quality are also welcome.

Dr. Yonghang Lai
Prof. Dr. Peter Brimblecombe
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Environments is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • air pollution exposure
  • cultural activities
  • urban air pollution impacts
  • new methodologies and technologies
  • policy developments
  • indoor air quality

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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16 pages, 2504 KiB  
Article
Temporal Evolution of Vehicle Exhaust Plumes in a Congested Street Canyon Environment
by Meng-Yuan Chu, Peter Brimblecombe, Peng Wei, Chun-Ho Liu and Zhi Ning
Environments 2024, 11(3), 57; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11030057 - 15 Mar 2024
Viewed by 831
Abstract
Air pollutants from traffic make an important contribution to human exposure, with pedestrians likely to experience rapid fluctuation and high concentrations on the pavements of busy streets. This monitoring campaign was on Hennessy Road in Hong Kong, a densely populated city with deep [...] Read more.
Air pollutants from traffic make an important contribution to human exposure, with pedestrians likely to experience rapid fluctuation and high concentrations on the pavements of busy streets. This monitoring campaign was on Hennessy Road in Hong Kong, a densely populated city with deep canyons, crowded footpaths and low wind speeds. Kerbside NOx concentrations were measured using electrochemical sensors with baseline correction and subsequently deconvoluted to determine concentrations at 1-s resolution to study the dispersion of exhaust gases within the first few metres of their on-road source. The pulses of NOx from passing vehicles were treated as segments of a Gaussian plume originating at the tailpipe. The concentration profiles in segments were fit to a simple analytical equation assuming a continuous line source with R2 > 0.92. Least squares fitting parameters could be attributed to vehicle speed and source strength, dispersion, and sensor position. The width of the plume was proportional to the inverse of vehicle speed. The source strength of NOx from passing vehicles could be interpreted in terms of individual emissions, with a median value of approximately 0.18 g/s, but this was sensitive to vehicle speed and exhaust pipe position. The current study improves understanding of rapid changes in pollutant concentration in the kerbside environment and suggests opportunities to establish the contribution from traffic flow to pedestrian exposure in a dynamic heavily occupied urban microenvironment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Urban Air Pollution)
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15 pages, 3188 KiB  
Article
Effects of Exposure to Urban Atmospheric Particulate Matter Suspended in Seawater on the Mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis
by Inês Rodrigues, Inês João Ferreira, Regina M. B. O. Duarte and Mário Diniz
Environments 2024, 11(1), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments11010012 - 05 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1887
Abstract
Atmospheric particulate matter (PM) contains numerous constituents, including organic molecules, inorganic ions, and metals, with some of them possessing hazardous properties. Although mainly associated with air pollution, PM can rapidly be transferred from air and land to aquatic ecosystems, and consequently poses a [...] Read more.
Atmospheric particulate matter (PM) contains numerous constituents, including organic molecules, inorganic ions, and metals, with some of them possessing hazardous properties. Although mainly associated with air pollution, PM can rapidly be transferred from air and land to aquatic ecosystems, and consequently poses a risk to marine biota. The aim of this work was to evaluate how urban atmospheric PM (a standard reference mixture of urban PM, known to contain various organic and inorganic contaminants), suspended in seawater, may cause toxicity in marine organisms. To this purpose, mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis) were exposed to two concentrations of suspended PM: 5.7 and 11.4 mg/L. After 7, 14, and 21 days, the animals were collected and the gills and digestive gland were analysed for stress biomarkers (CAT, SOD, GPX, GST, MDA, and Ubi). In general, the results show that exposure to different concentrations of PM caused an increase in GST, UBI, and GPx activities compared to their respective controls. The average activities of GST (87.65 ± 30.23 nmol/min/mg of total protein) in the gills of the animals exposed to 11.4 mg/L of PM increased after 21 days of exposure, and the activity of GPx (8.04 ± 3.09 nmol/min/mg of total protein) in the gills increased after 14 days in the animals exposed to 5.7 mg/L of PM. MDA results also provided information on cellular damage, with the most pronounced effects being found in the gills of exposed mussels. This study confirms that mussels are useful as “early warning” indicators of environmental contamination and provides important information on the effects of PM on marine biota. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Urban Air Pollution)
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14 pages, 4093 KiB  
Article
Particulate Matter (PM2.5) and Mould Characteristics in Selected Classrooms Located in Waikato, New Zealand: Preliminary Results
by Kaia Williams, Rhys J. Jones and Mohammad Al-Rawi
Environments 2023, 10(10), 182; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments10100182 - 15 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1774
Abstract
Small airborne particulate contaminants such as mould spores can harm human health by causing or exacerbating respiratory illnesses. Such particulates tend to be microscopic; however, in the case of moulds, contamination can be associated with visible colonial growth on surfaces and musty odours [...] Read more.
Small airborne particulate contaminants such as mould spores can harm human health by causing or exacerbating respiratory illnesses. Such particulates tend to be microscopic; however, in the case of moulds, contamination can be associated with visible colonial growth on surfaces and musty odours detectable by occupants of the room. Shared spaces, such as offices and classrooms, represent areas of higher risk due to the larger numbers of people being exposed to airborne particulates. To better appreciate the health risks associated with airborne particulates, it is therefore advantageous to assess the levels of breathable particulates in a room and compare them with the proportion of particulates represented by mould spores. An air image sensor machine was used to collect PM2.5 particulate levels for three urban-campus classrooms and three semi-urban-campus classrooms during different wintertime (August) days in New Zealand. For each room, a settle-plate method was also used to compare background mould levels at breathing height for seated occupants. Three of the classrooms had been recently built or renovated with an adequate ventilation system installed, while the remaining three classrooms were not upgraded and had no evidence of a ventilation system. The results indicated that the classrooms in the new building, located at the semi-urban campus, tended to have lower levels of particulate matter PM2.5 compared with the urban classrooms, which had not been upgraded. However, the semi-urban classrooms tended to have higher mould counts than the urban spaces. Moreover, the building envelope for both new and old classrooms tended to be porous, with indoor PM2.5 readings increasing in step with outdoor PM2.5 readings. This study will assist in identifying new approaches to reduce the risk of particulate-related respiratory issues associated with urban teaching spaces, particularly those buildings requiring more sustainable technologies to purify the air and improve the indoor air quality (IAQ). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Urban Air Pollution)
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Review

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13 pages, 2608 KiB  
Review
Attenuation of Odours in the Urban Outdoor Environment: A Rapid Review and Implications for the Conduct and Interpretation of Smell Walks
by Dirk H. R. Spennemann, Murray Parker and Jennifer Bond
Environments 2023, 10(9), 163; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments10090163 - 19 Sep 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1400
Abstract
The assessment and documentation of visual, auditory, and olfactory sensory experiences within urban environments is an emerging focus of research that has implications for the understanding of cultural heritage as well as community mental health. The common methodology to identify, describe, and document [...] Read more.
The assessment and documentation of visual, auditory, and olfactory sensory experiences within urban environments is an emerging focus of research that has implications for the understanding of cultural heritage as well as community mental health. The common methodology to identify, describe, and document smells within environmental settings is smell walks, where individuals walk predefined transects, identifying and locating encountered odours and odour attributes (e.g., intensity, hedonic tone). As the locations of smell walks vary (e.g., indoor and outdoor markets, urban parks, etc.), localised environmental parameters such as airflow and temperature affect the dispersion and attenuation of the odours, influencing the results. This paper presents a rapid, systematic review of the factors that influence the attenuation of odours in the urban outdoor environment, in particular, in the context of outdoor markets. Although there is an abundance of literature on wind patterns in urban canyons discussing the influence of microtopography, this can only be applied cum grano salis to outdoor markets settings. Various avenues for future research are outlined. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Urban Air Pollution)
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Other

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15 pages, 678 KiB  
Systematic Review
Studies on Air Pollution and Air Quality in Rural and Agricultural Environments: A Systematic Review
by Francesca Borghi, Andrea Spinazzè, Nicholas De Nardis, Serena Straccini, Sabrina Rovelli, Giacomo Fanti, Daniele Oxoli, Andrea Cattaneo, Domenico Maria Cavallo and Maria Antonia Brovelli
Environments 2023, 10(12), 208; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments10120208 - 30 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1749
Abstract
Studies on air quality in rural environments are fundamental to obtain first-hand data for the determination of base emissions of air pollutants, to assess the impact of rural-specific airborne pollutants, to model pollutant dispersion, and to develop proper pollution mitigation technologies. The literature [...] Read more.
Studies on air quality in rural environments are fundamental to obtain first-hand data for the determination of base emissions of air pollutants, to assess the impact of rural-specific airborne pollutants, to model pollutant dispersion, and to develop proper pollution mitigation technologies. The literature lacks a systematic review based on the evaluation of the techniques and methods used for the sampling/monitoring (S/M) of atmospheric pollutants in rural and agricultural settings, which highlights the shortcomings in this field and the need for future studies. This work aims to review the study design applied for on-field monitoring campaigns of airborne pollutants in rural environments and discuss the possible needs and future developments in this field. The results of this literature review, based on the revision of 23 scientific papers, allowed us to determine (i) the basic characteristics related to the study design that should always be reported; (ii) the main techniques and analyses used in exposure assessment studies conducted in this type of setting; and (iii) contextual parameters and descriptors of the S/M site that should be considered to best support the results obtained from the different studies. Future studies carried out to monitor the airborne pollution in rural/agriculture areas should (i) include the use of multiparametric monitors for the contextual measurement of different atmospheric pollutants (as well as meteorological parameters) and (ii) consider the most important boundary information, to better characterize the S/M site. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Urban Air Pollution)
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