Major Component of Fine Particulate Matter in a Busy Road in Metro Manila

By John Leo Algo and Genevieve Lorenzo

The physical properties of fine particulate matter in Taft Avenue, Metro Manila were characterized in a study “Aerosol particle mixing state, refractory particle number size distributions and emission factors in a polluted urban environment: Case study of Metro Manila, Philippines (Kecorius etal, 2017)”. The results have been recently published in Aerosol and Atmospheric Environment. And a copy of the article is in the following link: A summary follows.

The Metro Manila Aerosol Characterization Experiment (MACE) was conducted in Metro Manila from May to June 2015 by the Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research, Manila Observatory, Ateneo de Manila University, University of the Philippines and De La Salle University to characterize fine particulate matter. PM2.5, in a traffic dominated roadside site, in Taft Avenue, Manila was found to be dominated by carbon-containing pollutants (soot), which can trigger cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. Maximum daily soot particle number concentrations of up to 15,000 particles/cm3 were observed during the morning rush hours, and which were at least three times higher than in cities such as Berlin and Leipzig. The measured PM2.5 levels in Taft Avenue exceeded both the standards set by the World Health Organization and the Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999, with soot constituting 55 to 75 percent of roadside PM2.5. Diesel-powered jeepneys, which only made up 20 percent of the total vehicle fleet during the study period, emitted up to 75 percent of the total soot particle number and up to 94 percent of the total soot mass, showing the significant contribution that jeepneys can have in improving the air quality in the busy roadsides of Metro Manila.