Outdoor investigation of air quality around Bandar Abbas - Iran oil refinery
Mehdi Zare1, Ali Toolabi2, Mohammad Reza Zare3, Maryam Sarkhosh4, Amir Hossein Mahvi5, Ayat Rahmani4, Ali Fatehizadeh3
1 Department of Occupational Health, School of Health, Hormozgan University of Medical Sciences, Bandar Abbas, Iran
2 Department of Environmental Health Engineering, School of Health, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran
3 Environment Research Center, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran
4 Department of Environmental Health Engineering, School of Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
5 Department of Environmental Health Engineering, School of Health; National Institute of Health Research; Center for Solid Waste Research, Institute for Environmental Research , Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
|Date of Web Publication||28-Mar-2012|
Amir Hossein Mahvi
National Institute of Health Research, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
Aims: This study has been conducted to assess air pollution, with respect to particulate matter less than 10 μm in diameter (PM 10 ), sulfur dioxide (SO 2 ), carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO 2 ), hydrogen sulfide (H 2 S), and the Air Quality Index (AQI), in a location at close proximity to the Bandar Abbas-Iran oil refinery.
Materials and Methods: In this study, a location with close proximity to Bandar Abbas oil refinery was selected as the sampling station. The Air Sampling period was from June to September 2010. In order to assess PM 10 concentrations, the samples were collected using a high volume sampler with fiberglass filters. To measure the concentrations of other air pollutants, including, SO 2 , CO, H 2 S, and NO 2 , real-time instruments were used. With regard to air pollutant concentrations, the AQI values were calculated and for the wind rose, the effect of the oil refinery on Bandar Abbas was evaluated.
Results: According to the results from the present study, PM 10 , SO 2 , nd NO 2 concentrations were higher than the recommended values of the national ambient air standards. The maximum PM 10 and SO 2 concentrations and their resultant AQI values were observed in August and September, respectively. Other air pollutants had their highest concentrations in July and September, but in no case did they exceed the standard values.
Conclusion: The three most significant outdoor problems with the air quality around Bandar Abbas oil refinery were the NO 2 , SO 2 , and PM 10 levels.
Keywords: Air quality index, exceeding the standards, refinery
|How to cite this article:|
Zare M, Toolabi A, Zare MR, Sarkhosh M, Mahvi AH, Rahmani A, Fatehizadeh A. Outdoor investigation of air quality around Bandar Abbas - Iran oil refinery. Int J Env Health Eng 2012;1:9
|How to cite this URL:|
Zare M, Toolabi A, Zare MR, Sarkhosh M, Mahvi AH, Rahmani A, Fatehizadeh A. Outdoor investigation of air quality around Bandar Abbas - Iran oil refinery. Int J Env Health Eng [serial online] 2012 [cited 2020 Feb 21];1:9. Available from: http://www.ijehe.org/text.asp?2012/1/1/9/94393
| Introduction|| |
Nowadays, air pollution resulting from fossil fuel combustion, refineries, and many other industries is one of the most important health and environmental problems in developing countries. , Air pollution effects on human health have been considered by researchers and the public for a long time. As a result, in many developed countries, air pollution control plans have been implemented from the first decade of the twentieth century, for saving human health and the environment. 
The most popular and important air pollutants are Ozone (O 3 ), Sulfur dioxide (SO 2 ), total suspended particulates (TSP), nitrogen dioxide (NO 2 ), and carbon monoxide (CO). , Particulate matters are the most significant pollutants in the world's megacities.  Qin and Oduyemi  reported construction, excavation, and burning of oil products as the main sources of releasing particulate matters to the atmosphere of Dundee, England. The World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that 500,000 people die before maturation age as a result of particulate matter in the air. According to the WHO investigations, every 10 μg/m 3 increase in particulate matters increases the mortality from one to three percent. , Accordingly, the study of particulate matter characteristics, their sources, and their pattern of release in different cities, is one of the priorities in air pollution control plans. Carbon monoxide, after CO 2 , is the most abundant atmospheric pollutant gas in most cities. This gas can bond with hemoglobin and reduce the capability of hemoglobin for oxygen transportation. , Sulfur dioxide and NO 2 are also important compounds that produce acid rains. These compounds are released into the atmosphere by fossil fuels, vehicles, and gas and oil refineries. The effects of these oxidants on human health include coughing, shortness of breath, impairment of lungs, dry edema, and irritation of eyes, nose, and throat. ,
The air quality index (AQI) is an index for the description of the air pollution status, which was developed in 1993, to describe the air pollution status in a manner that was comprehensible to the public. 
Bandar Abbas is one of the most important cities in Iran with regard to its economic, industrial, and historical status, and it has developed greatly in the recent decades. On the one side, the development of industries, increment of vehicles, and high rate of immigration to Bandar Abbas, and on the other, the special geographical location (close to Persian Gulf and Oman sea) and meteorological conditions (high temperature and humidity), increase the potential impact of air pollution in Bandar Abbas. ,
This study was conducted to evaluate AQI and the air pollutant concentrations including PM 10 , SO 2 , CO, H 2 S, and NO 2 , with regard to the national ambient air standards. In addition, in this study the relationship between air pollution and meteorological parameters, including temperature and humidity, was considered.
| Materials and Methods|| |
The location of the sampling station was in close proximity to the Bandar Abbas oil refinery. As the most important effects of the pollutant emissions from the refinery were toward the Bandar Abbas city, the location of sampling was chosen between the refinery and the city. The geographical locations of Bandar Abbas and the oil refinery are shown in [Figure 1]. For 24-hour air sampling, a high volume sampler (Grasseby-Andersen) was used and the samples were collected on fiberglass filters at a flow rate of 1.2 m 3 /minute. Air sampling was performed every other day and at least thrice a week, for the period from June to September 2010. To restrict the effect of humidity on the measurements, filters were placed in desiccators and weighed 24 hours before and after sampling. The concentrations of the particulate matter, with a diameter of less than 10 microns, were calculated in μg/m 3 using Equation 1:
C was the concentration of particulate matter (μg/m 3 ), W 1 and W 2 were the filter weights before and after sampling (g), and V was the volume of air that passed through the filter (m 3 ).
For measurement of SO 2 , CO, H 2 S, and NO 2 concentrations, portable real-time instruments (BABUC/A LSI Italy) were used. It was noteworthy that parallel to air sampling, the meteorological parameters, including air temperature, relative humidity, and wind speed were measured. In this study, the data were analyzed using SPSS ver. 16 and the relationship between the monthly mean concentrations of contaminants and meteorological parameters were tested using the Pierson correlation coefficient. The AQI was calculated using the Center for Science and Environment (CSE) according to Equation 2 and [Table 1]:
IP represents the air pollution index for pollutant P
CP represents the rounded concentration of pollutant P
BP HI represents the breakpoint that is greater than or equal to CP
BP LO represents the breakpoint that is less than or equal to CP
I HI represents the AQI value corresponding to BPHI
I LO represents the AQI value corresponding to BPLO
In order to determine the relationship between the pollutant concentrations and other atmospheric parameters, the Pearson correlation coefficient was calculated by the SPSS ver.16.0 software.
| Results|| |
The results of measuring the air pollutant concentrations, temperatures, and humidity are presented in [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5], [Table 6] and [Table 7]. According to the results, the concentrations of particulate matters, SO 2 , and NO 2 are higher than the maximum allowable concentration of the ambient air standard on some days. The maximum concentrations of particulate matter (430 μg/m 3 ), NO 2 (0.135 ppm), and SO 2 (0.620 ppm) have been observed in August, July, and September, respectively [Table 2], [Table 4], and [Table 5]. The highest concentrations of CO and H 2 S were observed in July and September, respectively, but in no case were the concentrations higher than the national ambient air standards.
|Table 2: Maximum, minimum, and mean values of PM10 (mean of 24 hours) during the entire study period|
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|Table 3: Values of CO (mean of eight hours) during the entire study period|
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|Table 4: Values of NO2 (mean of 24 hours) during the entire study period|
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|Table 5: Values of SO2 (mean of 24 hours) during the entire study period|
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|Table 6: Values of H2S (mean of eight hours) measured during the entire study period|
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|Table 7: Maximum and minimum temperatures and humidity during the entire study period|
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The results of air temperatures showed that the maximum and minimum air temperatures during the investigation period were 38.41°C and 8°C, respectively. In addition, the maximum and minimum wind speeds were recorded to be 4.3 m/s and 0.1 m/s, respectively. Low fluctuations of wind speeds indicated a stable atmosphere in Bandar Abbas. Contrary to wind speeds, the results showed high variations in the level of relative humidity (4 - 87.06%). Analysis of the relationship between air pollutant concentrations and meteorological parameters showed a direct and weak relationship between air temperatures and particulate matter concentrations (R 2 =0.0935). In addition there was a direct and weak relationship between relative humidity and SO 2 concentrations (R 2 =0.493). Investigation of the relationship between relative humidity and particulate matter concentrations showed a high and significant correlation (R 2 =0.9).
Calculated AQI values for pollutants including PM 10 , CO, NO 2 , and SO 2 are presented in [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4] and [Table 5]. According to the results, the AQI values for PM 10 were higher than the standard levels (100) in June, July, and August and the AQI value for SO 2 was higher than the standard level in September.
The wind direction and speed roses indicated that the prevailing wind direction was eastward during the study period [Figure 2], but the highest wind speeds were related to the south east and south west [Figure 3].
| Discussion|| |
The results of the present study suggest that concentrations of CO during the study period comply with the national ambient air standards. Although there were some fluctuations in the atmospheric concentrations of CO at midnight and early morning, they did not lead to an increase from the national ambient air standards. The fluctuations could have been due to vehicle traffic in the refinery. The source of H 2 S was believed to be mainly from the refinery processes. Considering the results, it was revealed that the H 2 S concentrations were lower than the national ambient air standards. According to the wind rose graph, the extension of H 2 S release was north-eastward and toward the eastern regions during the study period. Regarding the eight-hour ambient air standard level for SO 2 (0.14 ppm), the concentrations of SO 2 , except for September, were less than the ambient air standard levels. For NO 2 , it was revealed that in July, the NO 2 concentrations exceeded the ambient air standard levels. These exceedances from the national ambient air standards had occurred in five days and their cause was mainly repairing of the caustic unit of the refinery. With regard to the investigation of particulate matter, it was revealed that there was a direct and significant relationship between particulate matter concentrations and relative humidity (R 2 =0.9). This could be due to the increasing adhesion capability of the submicron particles, because of higher humidity, which created larger particles that could be trapped by a fiberglass filter. The results indicated that the maximum concentration of particulate matter was 430 μg/m 3 . As, according to ambient air standard, the maximum 24-hour allowable concentration of PM 10 was 200 μg/m 3 , it could be implied that in this case the concentration of particulate matter was more than twice that of the ambient air standard level. The calculated AQI (>300) for this concentration revealed that this situation should be considered as a critical situation [Table 1]. Although this level of PM 10 concentration was much higher than that of ambient air standard. A similar study was conducted by Gurjar et al. (2007) in several megacities that maximum concentration of PM 10 was reported to be 700 μg/m 3 in Karachi.  Although the mean PM 10 concentration in our study was lower than that in Karachi city, it was higher than the concentrations of PM 10 in many other cities that were reported by Gurjar.  The reason for such high concentrations could be attributed to high relative humidity and low wind speeds in the Bandar Abbas County. Considering the results of this study, it could be implied that although air pollution was anticipated to be a problem in winter, as a result of inversion and atmospheric stability, it could be a problem even in summer in Bandar Abbas.
Unlike this study, the results of Lee et al.'s study showed that the SO 2 levels at 14 public places in Hong Kong were much lower than the standards.  The main reason for this difference was the place of sampling. In fact in this study, the place of sampling was near the oil refinery where sulfur fuels were one of the important raw materials.
In the time period study, the wind direction was eastward from the refinery to Bandar Abbas [Figure 2]. Regarding this condition and taking into account the fact that the speed of the wind was not high, the AQI was anticipated to increase during some periods of time, especially in September (according to [Table 7], AQI in the sampling station was more than 300 in September).
Although this study has highlighted some potential air quality problems at places near the refinery, it needs to investigate more pollutants, at longer time periods, at such places.
Generally the three most important outdoor air quality problems around the Bandar Abbas oil refinery are the NO 2 , SO 2 , and PM 10 levels. Although this study shows that the concentration of particulate matters, SO 2 , and NO 2 are high only for short periods of time, the risk of air pollution hazards seems to be considerable. The main reason for this statement is that the meteorological conditions of Bandar Abbas observe fluctuations in the concentration of contaminants, probable atmospheric stability, and a probable synergistic effect of particulate matters and sulfur compounds. Therefore, this study highlights the need for conducting more studies to find the main sources of air pollution and strategies for their control, in the Bandar Abbas.
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[Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3]
[Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5], [Table 6], [Table 7]