There is little research work done on the identification and characterization of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) including polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), pesticides and Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the ambient air of Arabian Gulf region and specifically in Saudi Arabia. POPs emissions represent an environmental pressure that reflects negatively on human’s health and productivity. The complex, inter-related sources of air pollution together with the heavy load of pollutants are normal consequence of accelerated development and economic growth which Saudi Arabia witnessed over the past three decades. Higher rates of air pollution are becoming strongly correlated with development, agriculture and industrial progress. Therefore, Saudi Arabia required focusing on reducing such emissions through concerted efforts to be under taken at both national and international levels.
Purpose: The purpose of this research work is to determine the occurrence and identification, of some pesticides in the ambient air of Riyadh city of Saudi Arabia, and to provide the policy maker with a tool that can be used to regulate the harmful emissions aiming to a clean air environment.
Theoretical framework: POPs are defined within the Stockholm convention in terms of persistence, bioaccumulation, and adverse effects. Increasing levels of large-scale application agro-chemicals, stationary and mobile emission sources have been found in regions isolated from their use and production. The particulate matter PM10 fraction were chosen as indices. The particles are results of primary emission, or indirectly by secondary emission. Various reactions taking place during the long-distance transport of gases and volatile organic compounds. Therefore, identification and source of these emissions need to be quantified and regulated toward clean air environment.
Results: The results reveal the presence of PAHs, pesticides and PCBs in the ambient air of Riyadh city at some elevated concentrations. The average concentration of pesticides ranges from 1.92-8216 ng/M3. These concentrations depict a heavily use of pesticides around the city and long-range-transported. The average concentration for all reported PHAs ranges from 17.85 - 1002.8 ng/M3. The average concentration of PCBs ranges from 0.32-20.08 ng/M3. Some of the POPs are locally originated, while others are suggested to be long-range transported.
Conclusions: The finding reveals the presence of some POPs in the ambient air of Riyadh city at elevated concentrations. Some are locally originated, while others are suggested to be long-range transported. Petrochemical industry, road traffic and agribusiness are responsible for most of air pollution in Saudi Arabia. Efforts are in progress by the authorities to monitor and regulate harmful emissions. Initiatives for research and development toward clean air act are lunched.