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Spatial distribution and seasonal variation of air pollutants in proximity to mobile sources in Jamaica Center, Queens, NY

Authors: Christopher Aime*, Lehman College
Topics: Urban Geography, Population Geography, Physical Geography
Keywords: Air Pollution, gas-phase pollutants,
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/8/2020
Start / End Time: 3:20 PM / 4:35 PM
Room: Virtual Track 3
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Air pollution is linked to public health issues, particularly in urban areas where mobile source emissions are prevalent. Since air pollutants levels vary largely at spatio-temporal scales, traditional regulatory monitoring sites do not capture them in critical populated areas. To examine the variations in air pollution concentrations based on geographic location, seasonal patterns and distance from major roadways, samples of gas-phase pollutants were measured in Jamaica Center - Queens, New York (40ºN, 73ºW). Low-cost passive samplers: diffusion tubes and 3M badges, were utilized to collect sulfur dioxide (SO2), ground-level ozone (O3) nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), at nine locations in Winter 2018, Summer 2019 and Fall of 2019. Geographic information system (GIS) software was used to map the locations where data was sampled. Air pollution concentrations were significantly higher at locations close to main transportation routes than those farther away. Except for O3, air pollution levels were higher during the winter season. Conversely, due to photochemical processes, O3 levels were higher in the summer, than all other pollutants. The spatial distribution of air pollutants suggests that commuters and residents in close proximity to mobile sources may be at greater risk for respiratory and other related health issues. These preliminary findings are consistent with previous environmental and health geography studies that explain the relationship between location and human exposure to air pollution. Future studies should investigate the factors resulting in temporal and seasonal variability of air pollutants, and their associations with specific public health effects.

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