The Study of PM10 Concentration and Trace Metal Content in Different Areas of Karachi, Pakistan

  • Durdana Rais Hashmi Centre for Environmental Studies, PCSIR Labs Complex, Karachi-75280, Pakistan
  • Akhtar Shareef
  • Farooq Ahmed Khan
Keywords: trace metal, atmospheric particulate matter, ambient air, Karachi


Atmospheric particulate matter may exert serious health hazards because of its chemical
characteristics. Aim of this study was to determine the concentrations of particulate matter (PM) with an
aerodynamic diameter <10 mm (PM10), and air transmitted particulate trace metals in different areas of
Karachis ambient air, for the period of 01 year viz. June 2011 to June 2012. Furthermore, the present work
compares the levels of particulate matter and trace metals with the proposed limiting values from the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (65 mg/m3 for PM10). The sampling for PM10 was performed by using
a high volume air sampler. The PM10 levels were determined by gravimetry and the metals by graphite
furnace. Arithmetic means of 361.0 mg/m3 was determined for PM10 in commercial areas, 275.0 mg/m3 in
residential areas, 438.0 mg/m3 in industrial areas and 68.9 mg/m3 in background areas of Karachi. Trace
metal content in PM10, such as lead (Pb) and cadmium (Cd) were also analysed separately during the same
period using atomic absorption spectrometry. The average concentration of Pb were found in commercial
zone 1.36 mg/m3, in residential zone 1.0 mg/m3, in industrial zone 1.46 mg/m3 and in urban background
zone 0.6 mg/m3, whereas; Cd concentration in commercial zone 0.10 µg/m3, in residential zone 0.02 µg/m3,
in industrial zone 0.25 µg/m3 and in urban background zone 0.01 µg/m3, respectively.