Headline: Characterizations of atmospheric particulate-bound mercury in the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal, South Asia

The Kathmandu Valley, located in the Himalayan foothills in Nepal, is heavily polluted. In order to investigate ambient particulate-bound mercury (Hg) in the Kathmandu Valley, a total 64 total suspended particulates (TSP) samples were collected from a sub-urban site in the Kathmandu Valley, the capital region of Nepal during a sampling period of an entire year (April 2013-April 2014). They were analyzed for ambient particulate-bound Hg (PBM) using thermal desorption combined with cold vapor atomic spectroscopy. In our knowledge, it is the first study of ambient PMB in the Kathmandu Valley and the surrounding broader Himalayan foothill region. The average concentration of PBM over the entire sampling period of a year was found to be 850.5 (±962.8) pg m-3 in the Kathmandu Valley. This is comparable to those values reported in the polluted cities of China and significantly higher than those observed in most of urban areas in Asia and other regions of world. The daily average Hg contents in TSP (PBM/TSP) ranges from 269.7 to 7613.0ngg-1 with an average of 2586.0 (±2072.1) ng g-1, indicating the high enrichment of Hg in TSP. The average concentrations of PBM were higher in the winter and pre-monsoon season than in the monsoon and post-monsoon season. The temporal variations in the strength of anthropogenic emission sources combined with other influencing factors, such as ambient temperature and the removal of atmospheric aerosols by wet scavenging are attributable to the seasonal variations of PBM. The considerably high dry deposition flux of PBM estimated by using a theoretical model was 135μgm-2 yr-1 at the Kathmandu Valley. This calls for an immediate attention to addressing ambient particulate Hg in the Kathmandu Valley, including considering it as a key component of future air quality monitoring activities and mitigation measures. © 2016 Elsevier B.V.

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Academic Articles

Guo, J., Kang, S., Huang, J., Zhang, Q., Rupakheti, M., Sun, S., Tripathee, L., Rupakheti, D., Panday, A. K., Sillanpää, M., Paudyal, R. (2017): Characterizations of atmospheric particulate-bound mercury in the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal, South Asia. - Science of the Total Environment, 579, p. 1240-1248.DOI: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.11.110

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A Sustainable Atmosphere for the Kathmandu Valley (SusKat)