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

To Thi Hien This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.1,2, Tuan Hung Ngo3, Shih Chun Candice Lung This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.3, Tran Anh Ngan1,2, Tran Hoang Minh1,2, Tran Cong-Thanh1,2, Ly Sy Phu Nguyen  1,2, Nguyen Doan Thien Chi1,2

1 Faculty of Environment, University of Science, Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam
2 Vietnam National University, Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam
3 Research Center for Environmental Changes, Academia Sinica, Taipei 115, Taiwan

Received: April 30, 2022
Revised: August 30, 2022
Accepted: September 1, 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.220193  

Cite this article:

Hien, T.T., Ngo, T.H., Lung, S.C.C., Ngan, T.A., Minh, T.H., Cong-Thanh, T., Nguyen, L.S.P., Chi, N.D.T. (2022). Characterization of Particulate Matter (PM1 and PM2.5) from Incense Burning Activities in Temples in Vietnam and Taiwan. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.220193


  • Case study for PM emitted from incense burning in Vietnam and Taiwan.
  • PM2.5 and PM1 increase significantly during event days as compared to non-event days.
  • Differences in the characteristics of OC and EC were found between the two countries.
  • Improve knowledge regarding PM emissions in Southeast Asia.


Particulate matter (PM) emitted from incense burning is a serious problem because of its effects on human health and the environment, especially on the air quality of Southeast Asia. This study investigated the PM1 and PM2.5 concentrations in two temples in Vietnam and Taiwan, focusing on events (i.e., new moon and full moon day) and non-event days using PM sensors. Moreover, PM2.5 samples were collected to determine organic carbon (OC) and elemental carbon (EC) concentrations. The PM1 and PM2.5 concentrations in Vietnam (22.7 ± 18.7 and 36.5 ± 33.9 µg m-3, respectively) were lower than those at the Taiwan temple (74.5 ± 53.4 and 97.0 ± 65.4 µg m-3, respectively). The incense burning activity in the Taiwan temple occurred inside the temple while the incense burner at Vietnam’s temple was located outdoors. During the event days, PM1 and PM2.5 concentrations were about two times greater than on non-event days, highlighting the impact of incense burning on the PM concentrations. By breaking the study area into control and exposure sites, we found that the people inside the temple experienced 2–5 times higher PM concentrations as compared to those in the ambient air. The PM1/PM2.5 ratio was 0.6 ± 0.1 for the Vietnam temple, which was lower than the Taiwan value (0.7 ± 0.1). The OC and EC concentrations in the Taiwan temple were 129.40 ± 97.68 and 1.16 ± 2.31 µg m-3, respectively, significantly greater than those found in the Vietnam temple (OC = 27.70 ± 7.66 µg m-3, EC = 1.63 ± 0.93 µg m-3). Furthermore, the OC/EC ratio in the Vietnam temple (20.24) was similar to those reported from incense and biomass in previous research. The increase in religious activities was the major factor leading to the enhancement of the air pollutant levels surrounding the study areas. This study provides valuable information on PM and carbonaceous aerosols emitted from incense burning in Southeast Asia megacities.

Keywords: Southeast Asia Megacities, Particulate matters, OC-EC, Incense burning, Hi-ASAP

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