Khan Alam 1, Azam Mukhtar2, Imran Shahid3, Thomas Blaschke4, Hussain Majid5, Said Rahman6, Rehana Khan1, Naheed Rahman1

  • 1 Institute of Physics and Electronics, University of Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan
  • 2 Department of Chemistry, University of Education, Lahore, Okara Campus, Pakistan
  • 3 Institute of Space Technology, Islamabad, Pakistan
  • 4 Department of Geography and Geology, University of Salzburg, Hellbrunnerstrasse 34, Salzburg 5020, Austria
  • 5 Higher Education Commission of Pakistan, Islamabad, Pakistan
  • 6 Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO), P.O. Box 8402, Off University Road, Karachi- 75270, Pakistan

Received: January 16, 2014
Revised: April 5, 2014
Accepted: May 24, 2014
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Cite this article:
Alam, K., Mukhtar, A., Shahid, I., Blaschke, T., Majid, H., Rahman, S., Khan, R. and Rahman, N. (2014). Source Apportionment and Characterization of Particulate Matter (PM10) in Urban Environment of Lahore. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 14: 1851-1861.


  • Atmospheric pollution has become a serious problem in Pakistan.
  • The averaged PM10 concentrations in Lahore during study period was 406 µg/m3.
  • The averaged EC concentrations in Lahore during study period was 21 µg/m3.
  • The averaged OC concentrations in Lahore during study period was 63 µg/m3.
  • The OC/EC ratio indicates a contribution of biogenic & secondary aerosol formation.



The present study describes the characterization of carbonaceous species including elemental carbon (EC), organic carbon (OC), total carbon (TC), crustal (Al, Ca, Mg, Fe, S, and Ti) and trace metals (As, Ba, Cd, Cr, Cu, Mn, Ni, Pb, Sn and Zn) in PM10 samples collected from an urban site in Lahore, Pakistan. Sources of various pollutants and their characterization have been carried out using positive matrix factorization (PMF) model. The carbonaceous species (TC, OC, EC) and metals were measured in PM10 samples by NIOSH protocol using Sunset lab instruments and ICP-OES respectively. PM10 concentrations varied from 254 to 555 µg/m3 with an average of 406 ± 87 µg/m3. The elemental carbon (EC) concentration varied from 3 to 56 µg/m3 with an average of 21 ± 15 µg/m3. While the organic carbon (OC) concentrations varied from 21 to 212 µg/m3 with an average of 63 ± 42 µg/m3. The OC/EC ratio varied from 1.5–7.6 with an average of 3.9 ± 1.6, indicating a contribution of both biogenic and secondary aerosol formation. A good correlation was also observed between EC and OC (R2 = 0.81) indicating their common origin. PMF has identified industrial dust (18.2% of PM10), vehicular emission (26.5% of PM10), bio mass fuel (24.3% of PM10) and re-suspended dust (4.6% of PM10) as major sources of PM10 in urban environment of Lahore.

Keywords: Trace metals; Particulate matter; Elemental carbon; Organic carbon; Positive matrix factorization; Pakistan

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