Special Issue on Air Pollution and its Impact in South and Southeast Asia (II)

Christian Mark G. Salvador  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.1, Jhon Robin dR. Yee2, Iara Chantrelle V. Coronel2, Angel T. Bautista VII2, Raymond J. Sugcang2, Mark Anthony M. Lavapiez3, Rey Y. Capangpangan  4, Preciosa Corazon B. Pabroa  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.2

1 Balik Scientist Program, Department of Science and Technology - Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development, Bicutan, Taguig 1630, Philippines
2 Department of Science and Technology (Philippines) - Philippine Nuclear Research Institute, Commonwealth Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City 1101, Philippines
3 Department of Chemistry, Caraga State University, Ampayon, Butuan City 8600, Philippines
Department of Physical Science and Mathematics, College of Science and Environment, Mindanao State University-Naawan, Naawan, Misamis Oriental 9023, Philippines

Received: January 16, 2022
Revised: March 23, 2022
Accepted: April 12, 2022

 Copyright The Author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are cited.

Download Citation: ||https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.220026  

Cite this article:

Salvador, C.M.G. Yee, J.R., Coronel, I.C.V., Bautista VII, A.T., Sugcang, R.J., Lavapiez, M.A.M., Capangpangan, R.Y., Pabroa, P.C.B. (2022). Variability and Source Characterization of Regional PM of Two Urban Areas Dominated by Biomass Burning and Anthropogenic Emission. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 22, 220026. https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.220026


  • Regional surface mass of PM5 was calculated using reanalyzed satellite data.
  • Photochemical and multiphase oxidation induced the formation of sulfate aerosols.
  • Transboundary transport of combustion plume from SEA countries enhanced PM mass.
  • Anthropogenic activities primarily influenced the variability of PM in metropolis.
  • Biomass burning and vehicle emissions had comparable impacts on the tourist spot.


Identifying the sources and formation pathways of particulate matter (PM) and its components is important to determine the impact of atmospheric aerosols on human health and the warming of the global atmosphere. Here, we characterized the variability of the eleven-year concentration and the origin of PM2.5 in two urban regions (Metro Manila and Boracay) in the Philippines, a country in South East Asia (SEA) with high local anthropogenic emissions and frequently impacted by transboundary pollution. The surface concentration of PM2.5 was analyzed using simulated and reanalyzed satellite data (MERRAero), complemented, and validated with filter measurements for PM2.5 and black carbon (BC). The PM2.5 masses in Metro Manila (12.3 ± 2.4 µg m–3) and Boracay (12.9 ± 3.6 µg m–3) were comparable yet with varying concentrations of aerosol components Anthropogenic related components of PM (organic carbon, sulfate, and BC) were more enhanced in the metropolis region (4.9 µg m–3) than in the prime tourist spot (2.72 µg m–3). Sulfate formation impacted the aerosol mass in Metro Manila, with the photochemical oxidation of SO2 as the predominant production pathway of sulfates. Analysis of regional organic matter (OM) and BC in Boracay revealed extensive transboundary transport of biomass burning (BB) plumes from equatorial SEA countries. Also, the ratio of OM and SO4 was utilized as a quick proxy for source characterization. Metro Manila and Boracay reported 0.77 ± 0.20 and 1.06 ± 0.55, highlighting the evident impact of traffic emissions in the PM mass in the metropolis region. For Boracay, the mixed contributions of BB and vehicular activities influenced the formation of PM. Overall, the reanalysis of satellite data captured the long-term variability and origins of surface PM in two vital urban regions in the Philippines. The utilization of MERRAero will be an important procedure in making regulatory decisions on regional pollution control.

Keywords: Surface PM2.5, MERRAero, Long term trends, South East Asia, Biomass burning

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Special Call for Papers Air Pollution and its impact in South and Southeast Asia

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