Journal of Environmental Protection, 2011, 2, 662-667
doi:10.4236/jep.2011.25076 Published Online July 2011 (
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. JEP
Air Quality Status of Respirable Particulate Levels
at Selected Traffic Junctions along the Section of
Lateral Highway in Hyderabad
Manda Karunakar Reddy, Mareddy Sumathi
NEERI Zonal Laboratory, Hyderabad, India.
Email: {neeri_h, apchzl }
Received February 9th, 2011; revised April 19th, 2011; accepted June 7th, 2011.
The aerodynamic diameter of an air borne particle is the key property in determining its respiratory deposition. The
study aim to assess PM2.5 level and its size distribution at 5 traffic junctions located along the lateral highway con-
nected to NH-202. A cascade impactor has been used to measure the size function range of PM2.5 apart from PM10 of
atmospheric dust particles in air being PM2.5 is concern with respect to effect on human health and is able to tend
deeply into the respiratory tract reaching the lungs. It is observed that weight % of PM2.5 values are in the range of
40% - 60% of PM 10 and few values of PM2.5 are exceeding the standards prescribed by CPCB. It is concluded that free
flow of traffic is main concern an d maintenance of road should be carried out during low traffic hours.
Keywords: PM2.5, Air Borne Particle, Traffic, Respirable Dust, Particle Size
1. Introduction and Methods
Several studies indicates that respirable particulate matter
can have a severe effect of human health specially PM2.5.
There are strong indications that the number of particles
may be more relevant for human health effects than the
particle mass [1]. However the particles contribute very
little to the total suspended mass and these are not taken
into account by emission or air quality standards related
to particle mass, even though they may have severe
health effects.
Particulate matter is the term used for a mixture of
solid particles and liquid droplets found in the air. PM2.5
refers to particulate matter that is 2.5 µm or smaller in
size. 2.5 micrometers is approximately 1/30 the size of a
human hair on average [2]. Particulate matter with aero-
dynamic diameter (unit density sphere) of 2 µm is 90%
respirable whereas 2.5 µm is 75% respirable [3].
Respirable dust refers to those dust particles that are
small enough to penetrate the nose and upper respiratory
system and deep in to the lungs. Particles that penetrate
deep into the respiratory system are generally beyond the
body’s natural clearance mechanism of cilia and mucus
and are likely to be retained.
The sources of PM2.5 include fuel combustion from
automobiles, power plants, wood burning, industrial
processes/operation units etc. However size distribution
of particulate matter through industrial process depends
on the process, control equipment and its working condi-
tion [4]. In urban area PM2.5 emission is mainly from on-
road vehicles i.e., two wheelers, three wheelers and four
wheelers of light and heavy vehicles [5]. These fine par-
ticles are also formed in the atmosphere when gases such
as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and volatile organic
compounds (all of which are also products of fuel com-
bustion) are transformed in the air by chemical reactions.
Fine particles are of concern because they are risk to
both human health and the environment. Because these
particles so small they can able to travel deeply into the
respiratory tract, reaching the lungs. Exposure to fine
particles can cause short-term health effects such as eye,
nose, throat and lung irritation, coughing, sneezing, runny
nose and shortness of breath. Exposure to fine particles
can also affect lung function and worsen medical condi-
tions such as asthma and heart disease. Scientific studies
have linked increases in daily PM2.5 exposure with in-
creased respiratory and cardiovascular hospital admis-
sions, emergency department visits and deaths. Studies
also suggest that long term exposure to fine particulate
matter may be associated with increased rates of chronic
bronchitis, reduced lung function and increased mortality
Air Quality Status of Respirable Particulate Levels at Selected Traffic Junctions along the Section of 663
Lateral Highway in Hyderabad
from lung cancer and heart disease. People with breath-
ing and heart problems, children and the elderly may be
particularly sensitive to PM2.5 . Studies on particle mass
concentration (PM10 & PM2.5) indicate that for particle
mass there is no threshold in particle concentration below
which health would not be jeoparadised. [6].
Deposition velocity on the skin found to be 7.4 ± 1.1 ×
10–4 m/s for the 0.5 m, whereas 57 ± 14 × 10–4 m/s for
the 2.5 m particles [7]. The amount of pollutants depos-
ited on the skin of dressed person is more than an order
of magnitude longer than the amount deposited in the
lungs and that skin deposition is an important pathway
for toxics that can penetrate through the skin.
As per previous study, levels of PM2.5 at several loca-
tions at Delhi, India have reported to be in the range of
78 - 109 µg/m3 [8]. The Mean PM2.5 concentration for
the background mixed/traffic industrial site in Chennai
(India) were 35, 46 and 54 g/m3 respectively and ratio
between PM2.5 to PM10 was about 0.5 at all the three sites
during 2002 - 2003 [9]. Measurement were carried out
for one year at two sites in Mumbai city, average values
of PM2.5 and PM10 were 43 and 61 μg/m3 at ambient site
and at kerbsite 69 and 90 μg/m3 respectively. The results
also indicate that on an average, ratio of PM2.5 and PM10
was 0.68 and 0.7 at ambient and Kerbsite respectively
[10]. OAQPS (USEPA) paper indicate that annual mean
concentration of PM2.5 were above 20 g/m3 in several
major urban areas through out the eastern US including
Pittsburg, Cleveland, Atlanta, Chicago, St. Louis and in
Los Angels and the central valley of California. Values
in the 40 - 65 μg/m3 range were more common in the
eastern U.S and on the west coast, but relatively rare in
the central and western mountain regions [11]. Recently
it has become mandatory to monitor PM2.5 levels (India).
CPCB (India) prescribed air quality standard on 24 hrly
average is 60 g/m3 and for annual average is 40 g/m3
[12]. Whereas EPA prescribed standard for PM2.5 on 24
hrly average is 35 g/m3 [13]. The present study has
made an attempt to monitor PM2.5 along the lateral high-
way connected to NH-202 at five locations from Secun-
derabad to Uppal X road.
2. Study Area
Hyderabad is one of the fastest growing cities in the
country with a potential to become cyber capital of India.
It is located on the Southern Central region and it is al-
most in the middle of India.
Hyderabad is one of the metropolises of India with a
population of 40.1 lakhs as per 2011 census [14]. The
city is witnessing a rapid expansion, industrial boom, in-
creased trade opportunities coupled with high population
growth rate (decadal rate 40%) accelerated due to migra-
tion from rural areas. Hyderabad city has hot steppe type
climate with average temperature ranges between 40˚C &
43˚C in summer and 13˚C & 17˚C in winter and humid-
ity ranging between 25% and 80% respectively. The city
has Altitude of 536 m above mean sea level, monsoon
and post-monsoon conditions prevail from June to De-
cember and the average annual rainfall is recorded about
89 cm.
About 10 km section of road is covered for sampling.
Monitoring was carried out at selected 5 different traffic
junctions and monitored two times in a day (morning &
evening) on four hourly basis during summer (May
2008). Sampling points are shown in Figure 1 [15] and
latitude and longitude of respective points are reported in
Table 1.
The sampling for particulate matter was carried out
along the lateral highway connected to NH-202. It is a
two way road of width 60 feet on each side with high
traffic density comprising mostly 2 wheeler, 3 wheeler, 4
wheeler and heavy vehicles. The average traffic move-
ment along the lateral highway is shown in Table 2.
3. Materials and Methods
The particle size distribution was analysed using Per-
sonal Sioutas Cascade Impactor Sampler (PCIS) along
with Ley Land Legacy pump, which is capable of main-
taining a constant flow rate of 9 L/min was used for
sampling. Sampling was carried out at five traffic junc-
tions along the lateral highway connected to major na-
tional high ways passing through Hyderabad. Sampling
was carried out on 4 hrly basis during May 2008. During
sampling period simultaneously traffic data collected and
reported along the highway.
The PCIS is a miniatured cascade impactor consisting
of four impaction stages and an after filter that allows the
separation and collection of air borne particles in five
size ranges [16]. Cut size of particle DP 50 at each stage is
as follows:
2.5 m. - Stage A
1.0 m - Stage B
0.5 m - Stage C
0.25 m - Stage D
Less than 0.25 m - Backup filter (After Filter)
That is Particles collected at stage A, B, C & D are 2.5
- 10 µm, 1.0 - 2.5 µm, 0.5 - 1.0 µm and 0.25 - 0.5 µm
Particles above each cut size are collected on a 25 mm
PTFE filter in the respective stage. Stage ‘A’ designed to
collect particles less than 10 m size only i.e., size of
particulates 2.5 m to 10 m. Particles below 0.25 µm
collected on last stage of 37 mm PTFE after filter. Parti-
cle weight on the filter represents the percent less than
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. JEP
Air Quality Status of Respirable Particulate Levels at Selected Traffic Junctions along the Section of
Lateral Highway in Hyderabad
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. JEP
Figure 1. Particulate Matter 2.5 Monitoring Locations along Lateral Highway.
Air Quality Status of Respirable Particulate Levels at Selected Traffic Junctions along the Section of 665
Lateral Highway in Hyderabad
Table 1. Location of the Stations.
S. No. Name of the Site Latitude Longitude
1 Secunderabad Railway
Station 17° 26’ 04” N 78° 30’06” E
2 Mettuguda X Road 17° 26’ 11” N 78° 31’08” E
3 Tarnaka X Road 17° 25’ 37” N 78° 31’52” E
4 Habsiguda X Road 17° 25’ 09” N 78° 32’28” E
5 Uppal X Road 17° 24’ 06” N 78° 33’36” E
Table 2. Average traffic movement along the lateral high-
Vehicles Morning
(9 - 12 hrs) Afternoon
(12 - 16 hrs)
2 wheeler 3592 3025
3 wheeler 1004 1439
4 wheeler 1992 2611
Heavy vehicles 664 1038
the cut size of previous stage.
Size-fractionated samples analysed gravimetrically.
PTFE filters were equilibrated in Desiccators containing
calcium Chloride (fused) for 24 hr before and after sam-
ple collection and weighed on pre-calibrated Sartorious
balance CP2250 of 0.01 mg sensitivity. The values are
reported cumulative weight % less than the DP,50 for each
stage and reported respective concentration in µg/m3.
The reported values for Secunderabad, Mettuguda, Tar-
naka, Habsiguda and Uppal x roads are given in Table 3,
Table 4, Table 5, Table 6 and Table 7 respectively.
4. Results and Discussion
Location of sampling sites shown in Figure 1 (Table 1)
indicates that distance between two adjacent sites is not
more than 2 km, except site no. 5, which is around 3 km
away from site No. 4. Activity wise site 5 represents main-
ly traffic, whereas other sites represents apart from traffic
commercial activities exist to some extent. Traffic in-
formation (Table 2) indicates that traffic movement is
higher in afternoon hours when compare with morning
hours except two wheelers.
Size fractionation of airborne particulate values re-
ported from Tables 3 to 7. It indicates that high values of
PM10 observed at site no. 2 (Mettuguda) 303 g/m3 dur-
ing morning hours and at site no. 1 (Secunderabad) 550
g/m3 during afternoon hours. Corresponding PM2.5 val-
ues are very high at these sites 1 and 2 which are 187
g/m3 and 294 g/m3 respectively; it may be due to lo-
calized activities. At the remaining sites PM10 values are
varying from 103 g/m3 to 210 g/m3 irrespective of
morning and afternoon hours and PM2.5 concentrations
are between 42 g/m3and 109 g/m3.
Observed values of PM10 and PM2.5 at five sites indi-
cate that maximum of PM10 and PM2.5 at Mettuguda x
Road is 550 and 294 g/m3 respectively, whereas mini-
mum of PM10 and PM2.5 is 103 g/m3 and 42 g/m3 at
Tarnaka x road. The higher values may be due to local
Table 3. PM2.5 Concentration at Secunderabad (Site no. 1).
Morning Afternoon
Particle cut size less than
DP, 50 Concentration in µg/m3 Cumulative % Weight
Less than Dp Concentration in µg/m3 Cumulative % Weight
Less than Dp
0.25 46 24 97 32
0.5 69 36 136 45
1.0 84 43 144 48
2.5 102 53 187 62
10 194 100 303 100
Table 4. PM2.5 Concentration at Mettuguda X Road (Site no. 2).
Morning Afternoon
Particle cut size less than
DP, 50 Concentration in µg/m3Cumulative % Weight
Less than Dp Concentration in µg/m3 Cumulative % Weight
Less than Dp
0.25 93 17 50 26
0.5 124 23 73 38
1.0 174 32 88 46
2.5 294 54 119 62
10 550 100 193 100
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. JEP
Air Quality Status of Respirable Particulate Levels at Selected Traffic Junctions along the Section of
Lateral Highway in Hyderabad
Table 5. PM2.5 Concentration at Tarnaka X Road (Site no. 3).
Morning Afternoon
Particle cut size less than
DP, 50 Concentration in
Cumulative % Weight
Less than Dp
Concentration in
Cumulative % Weight
Less than Dp
0.25 23 22 35 23
0.5 34 33 62 40
1.0 38 37 74 48
2.5 42 41 97 63
10 103 100 155 100
Table 6. PM2.5 Concentration at Habsiguda X Road (Site no. 4).
Morning Afternoon
Particle cut size less than
DP, 50 Concentration in µg/m3Cumulative % Weight
Less than Dp Concentration in µg/m3 Cumulative % Weight
Less than Dp
0.25 38 18 31 21
0.5 52 25 40 27
1.0 80 38 55 37
2.5 109 52 80 54
10 210 100 148 100
Table 7. PM2.5 Concentration at Uppal X Road (Site no. 5).
Morning Afternoon
Particle cut size less than
DP, 50 Concentration in µg/m3Cumulative % Weight
Less than Dp Concentration in µg/m3 Cumulative % Weight
Less than Dp
0.25 4 3 23 16
0.5 4 3 27 19
1.0 35 23 27 19
2.5 54 35 46 32
10 157 100 142 100
activities i.e., road widening work was in progress during
study period and the values are very uncertain. However
at site 5 (Uppal X Road), PM2.5 levels are within the lim-
its when compare with CPCB prescribed standards (60
g/m3) throughout day. It may be due to free flow of
traffic when compare with other sites.
Study also indicates that percentage weight of PM2.5
varies from 32% to 63% in total RSPM sample PM10.
However percentage of PM2.5 is varying in total PM10
(RSPM) and also not showing any tendency, being apart
from vehicular movement, local activities also exist. Ex-
isting study indicates most of the PM2.5 values are 60%
of PM10 values. PM10 values are exceeding CPCB pre-
scribed limit 100 g/m3 (24 hrly average) at all the sites.
Whereas very fine particulates concentration 0.25 m is
vary from 4 to 93 g/m3.
PM0.1 values are considered as ultrafine particles and
also a part of PM0.25 particulate concentration. Results
indicate that maximum value of PM0.25 is 97 g/m3 at site
1 and minimum value is 4 g/m3 at site 5. Percentage of
PM0.25 in total PM10 is minimum 3 g/m3 at site 5 and is
maximum 32 g/m3 at site 1. Indoor combustion sources
such as cooking, wood burning and candles can contrib-
ute to ultrafine exposure. Internal combustion is a pro-
minent source of ultrafine particles [17].
It is observed that along the lateral highway presence
of PM10 and PM2.5 are very high. It is certainly effect
road side commuters, business men and traffic police
who are on duty. The higher values at Mettuguda is
mainly due to construction activities, whereas at Secun-
derabad is due to bus bay including higher vehicle move-
ment, being located near by railway station. Results indi-
cate that percentage of fine particulate concentration val-
ues are more at site 1 & 2, site 3 & 4 reflects mainly due
opyright © 2011 SciRes. JEP
Air Quality Status of Respirable Particulate Levels at Selected Traffic Junctions along the Section of 667
Lateral Highway in Hyderabad
to traffic movement apart from local activities. At all the
sites PM10 values are exceeding limits when compare
with prescribed standards of CPCB (100 g/m3) on 24
hrly basis, whereas PM2.5 also exceeding the limits (60
g/m3) except at site no. 5.
5. Conclusions
It is concluded that respirable dust levels (PM10) along
the section of lateral highway exceeding the limits in
almost all the sites. PM2.5 has been considered as very
fine particles also exceeding the limits except in few
cases when compared with prescribed limits. It clearly
indicates that free movement of transportation directly
reflects presence of fine particles of respirable fraction.
Concentration of very fine particulate (<0.25 µm) is
higher at site no. 1 & 2 when compare with site 3, 4 & 5
and percentage weight fraction at site No. 5 is less when
compare with other sites.
Presence of fine and very fine particles in ambient air
penetrate deep into the respiratory system, which are
very high at Secunderabad and Mettuguda traffic junc-
tions. It causes health effect on road side petty business
people and also reflects on indoor air quality of closed
residential area including on traffic police on duty. Hence
special attention to be given for free flow of traffic as
well as maintenance of roads should carry out on late
night of the day.
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