Preciosa Corazon B. Pabroa   1, Joseph Michael D. Racho1, John Robin Yee1, Lawrence Adrian Tacliad2, Haron Deo Vargaz3, Iara Chantrelle V. Coronel1, Raymond J. Sugcang1, Christian Mark G. Salvador4,5 

1 Department of Science and Technology (Philippines) – Philippine Nuclear Research Institute, Quezon City, 1101 Metro Manila, Philippines
2 Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, 1 Manila, 1002 Metro Manila, Philippines
3 Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Community Environment and Natural Resources Office, Boracay, Malay Aklan, Western Visayas (Region VI) 5608, Philippines
4 Balik Scientist Program, Department of Science and Technology - Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development, Bicutan, Taguig 1630, Philippines
5 Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN 37830, USA

Received: May 26, 2023
Revised: November 23, 2023
Accepted: December 5, 2023

 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.

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Pabroa, P.C.B., Racho, J.M.D., Yee, J.R., Tacliad, L.A., Vargaz, H.D., Coronel, I.C.V., Sugcang, R.J., Salvador, C.M.G. (2024). Impact of Mixed Sources on the Atmospheric Aerosols of Urbanized Areas in the Philippines. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 24, 230122.


  • Multi-year physiochemical study of aerosols revealed several contributing activities.
  • Integration of black carbon speciation improved the source profile characterization.
  • Philippine urbanized sites had substantially varying vehicle and biomass-burning emission profiles.


Southeast Asia (SEA) holds approximately 10% of the global population, who are constantly exposed to severe local and transboundary air pollution. Here, we characterized the physiochemical characteristics of atmospheric aerosols in urbanized areas (Valenzuela, Manila, and Boracay) in the Philippines. The variability of coarse and fine aerosols, black carbon (BC), and trace elements of particulate matter (PM) were analyzed between June 2017 and April 2019. The average fine (coarse) aerosols of Valenzuela, Manila, and Boracay were 26.7 (80.4), 27.9 (86.6), and 20.9 (124.6) µg m–3, respectively, which all exceeded the recent annual limits of the World Health Organization. The average BC level was 6.6 µg m–3 across three sampling sites, ranging between 4 to 83% of the fine PM mass. Vehicular emission predominated at the extreme urban sites as reflected by the high BC levels attributed to transport activities. The conventional receptor modeling procedure was implemented and improved by integrating BC speciation, which distinguished vehicle emission and biomass burning. The new method revealed eight and seven sources influencing the atmospheric conditions of Valenzuela and Boracay. In particular, the elevated zinc and lead highlighted the substantial impact of industrial sources in Valenzuela, attributing more than 9% of PM2.5. For Boracay, construction activities evidently enhanced PM based on the mass burden of calcium. Overall, the results uncovered the origin of PM2.5 in urbanized locations in the Philippines, which will be valuable in reducing the exposure of a significant portion of the global population to harmful pollutants.

Keywords: Southeast Asia, Local pollution, MABI, Urban emissions

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