Spatial distribution of air pollution, hotspots and sources in an urban-industrial area in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area, Portugal—A biomonitoring approach

Abecasis L., Gamelas C.A., Justino A.R., Dionísio I., Canha N., Kertesz Z. & Almeida S.M.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
19: 1364 [20 p.]
This study aimed to understand the influence of industries (including steelworks, lime factories, and industry of metal waste management and treatment) on the air quality of the urbanindustrial area of Seixal (Portugal), where the local population has often expressed concerns regarding the air quality. The adopted strategy was based on biomonitoring of air pollution using transplanted lichens distributed over a grid to cover the study area. Moreover, the study was conducted during the first period of national lockdown due to COVID-19, whereas local industries kept their normal working schedule. Using a set of different statistical analysis approaches (such as enrichment and contamination factors, Spearman correlations, and evaluation of spatial patterns) to the chemical content of the exposed transplanted lichens, it was possible to assess hotspots of air pollution and to identify five sources affecting the local air quality: (i) a soil source of natural origin (based on Al, Si, and Ti), (ii) a soil source of natural and anthropogenic origins (based on Fe and Mg), (iii) a source from the local industrial activity, namely steelworks (based on Co, Cr, Mn, Pb, and Zn); (iv) a source from the road traffic (based on Cr, Cu, and Zn), and (v) a source of biomass burning (based on Br and K). The impact of the industries located in the study area on the local air quality was identified (namely, the steelworks), confirming the concerns of the local population. This valuable information is essential to improve future planning and optimize the assessment of particulate matter levels by reference methods, which will allow a quantitative analysis of the issue, based on national and European legislation, and to define the quantitative contribution of pollution sources and to design target mitigation measures to improve local air quality. Keywords: air pollution; biomonitoring; transplanted lichens; spatial analysis; urban-industrial area; steelworks; source apportionment.
Wednesday, 02 February 2022 10:50