Yuta Taniguchi1, Kojiro Shimada2, Akinori Takami3, Neng-Huei Lin2,4, Chak K. Chan5, Yong Pyo Kim2,6, Shiro Hatakeyama 1,2,7

  • 1 Graduate School of Agriculture, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, Fuchu, Tokyo 183-8509, Japan
  • 2 Global Innovation Research Organization, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, Fuchu, Tokyo 183-8538, Japan
  • 3 National Institute for Environmental Studies, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-0053, Japan
  • 4 Department of Atmospheric Science and Department of Chemistry, National Central University, Chung-Li, Taoyuan 32001, Taiwan
  • 5 School of Energy and Environment, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
  • 6 Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science and Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, Ewha Womans University, Seoul 03760, Korea
  • 7 Center for Environmental Science in Saitama, Kazo, Saitama 347-0115, Japan

Received: December 29, 2016
Revised: July 11, 2017
Accepted: July 21, 2017
Download Citation: ||https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.2016.12.0578  

Cite this article:
Taniguchi, Y., Shimada, K., Takami, A., Lin, N.H., Chan, C.K., Kim, Y.P. and Hatakeyama, S. (2017). Transboundary and Local Air Pollutants in Western Japan Distinguished on the Basis of Ratios of Metallic Elements in Size-Segregated Aerosols. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 17: 3141-3150. https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.2016.12.0578


  • Size segregated elemental composition in aerosols were analyzed.
  • Pb and Cu were usefully used as tracers of transboundary and local pollution.
  • Larger contribution of anthropogenic elements in transboundary fine particles.
  • Anthropogenic elements in coarse particles emitted in Kumamoto do not reach Okinawa.
  • Transboundary and local air pollutants were distinguished by Pb/Cu and V/As ratios.



Trace metals in aerosols were observed at an urban site (Kumamoto, Kyushu, Japan) and a rural site (Cape Hedo, Okinawa, Japan) to investigate the relative contributions of transboundary air pollutants from mainland Asia and local air pollutants in western Japan. We used a cascade impactor to collect aerosols in five size classes. We apportioned the sources of the air masses on the basis of elemental components. Transboundary and local air pollutants were distinguished by use of the Pb/Cu and V/As ratios in selected size fractions of aerosols. The contribution of Pb (primarily from coal combustion in China) to total anthropogenic elements was greatest in spring, autumn, and winter in the 0.5–1 µm size fraction at both collection sites. The atmospheric environment at both sites was affected by this transboundary air pollutant. The contribution of Cu (primarily from local vehicle traffic) to total anthropogenic elements was greatest in all seasons in the 2.5–10 µm fraction at Kumamoto. Local air pollutants such as road dust, automobile brake abrasion, and waste incineration affected ambient air quality in Kumamoto. Because these pollutants resided mainly in the coarse aerosol fraction (> 2.5 µm), most of them were not transported to Cape Hedo in air bodies that we were able to trace to Kumamoto by backward projection. Based on our data the ambient air quality at Cape Hedo was little affected by local air pollutants emitted in the Kumamoto area.

Keywords: Chemical composition of metallic elements; Difference in transboundary and local pollution; Elemental ratios; Size-segregated aerosol analysis

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