Composition and origin of Particulate Matter in the Netherlands

17-12-2010 | Publication

Particulate matter has a negative impact on human health and plays a role in climate change. To develop effective mitigation strategies to reduce the concentrations of both PM2.5 and PM10 one needs to establish the origin of particulate matter. The composition of particulate matter reveals a lot of information on sources.

Here, we report the results of a measurement campaign to determine the composition of PM10, PM2.5 and PM10-2.5 at 6 locations in the Netherlands. Generally, there is a considerable conformity in the chemical composition in the Netherlands. Secondary inorganic aerosol and carbonaceous matter are the most important components, followed by significant contributions of sea salt, mineral dust and metals. Through mass closure a considerable part of the PM mass could be explained. The application of a source apportionment technique complemented the analysis based on the interpretation of the chemical data. It confirmed independently a large number of species to be a tracer for a specific activity or source. As such, we have obtained more confidence in the interpretation of the data set. Based on the measured concentrations and estimates of the natural fraction per component it was established that about 75% of PM10 and 80 % of PM2.5 is man made.

The Netherlands Research Program on Particulate Matter (BOP) is a national program on PM10 and PM2.5. It is a framework of cooperation involving the Energy research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN), the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, the Environment and Safety Division of the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) and TNO Built Environment and Geosciences.

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