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Published June 11, 2019 | Published
Journal Article Open

Impacts of household sources on air pollution at village and regional scales in India


Approximately 3 billion people worldwide cook with solid fuels, such as wood, charcoal, and agricultural residues. These fuels, also used for residential heating, are often combusted in inefficient devices, producing carbonaceous emissions. Between 2.6 and 3.8 million premature deaths occur as a result of exposure to fine particulate matter from the resulting household air pollution (Health Effects Institute, 2018a; World Health Organization, 2018). Household air pollution also contributes to ambient air pollution; the magnitude of this contribution is uncertain. Here, we simulate the distribution of the two major health-damaging outdoor air pollutants (PM_(2.5) and O₃) using state-of-the-science emissions databases and atmospheric chemical transport models to estimate the impact of household combustion on ambient air quality in India. The present study focuses on New Delhi and the SOMAARTH Demographic, Development, and Environmental Surveillance Site (DDESS) in the Palwal District of Haryana, located about 80 km south of New Delhi. The DDESS covers an approximate population of 200 000 within 52 villages. The emissions inventory used in the present study was prepared based on a national inventory in India (Sharma et al., 2015, 2016), an updated residential sector inventory prepared at the University of Illinois, updated cookstove emissions factors from Fleming et al. (2018b), and PM_(2.5) speciation from cooking fires from Jayarathne et al. (2018). Simulation of regional air quality was carried out using the US Environmental Protection Agency Community Multiscale Air Quality modeling system (CMAQ) in conjunction with the Weather Research and Forecasting modeling system (WRF) to simulate the meteorological inputs for CMAQ, and the global chemical transport model GEOS-Chem to generate concentrations on the boundary of the computational domain. Comparisons between observed and simulated O₃ and PM_(2.5) levels are carried out to assess overall airborne levels and to estimate the contribution of household cooking emissions. Observed and predicted ozone levels over New Delhi during September 2015, December 2015, and September 2016 routinely exceeded the 8 h Indian standard of 100 µg m⁻³, and, on occasion, exceeded 180 µg m⁻³. PM_(2.5) levels are predicted over the SOMAARTH headquarters (September 2015 and September 2016), Bajada Pahari (a village in the surveillance site; September 2015, December 2015, and September 2016), and New Delhi (September 2015, December 2015, and September 2016). The predicted fractional impact of residential emissions on anthropogenic PM_(2.5) levels varies from about 0.27 in SOMAARTH HQ and Bajada Pahari to about 0.10 in New Delhi. The predicted secondary organic portion of PM_(2.5) produced by household emissions ranges from 16 % to 80 %. Predicted levels of secondary organic PM_(2.5) during the periods studied at the four locations averaged about 30 µg m⁻³, representing approximately 30 % and 20 % of total PM_(2.5) levels in the rural and urban stations, respectively.

Additional Information

© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License. Received: 14 Nov 2018 – Discussion started: 06 Dec 2018 – Revised: 25 Apr 2019 – Accepted: 14 May 2019 – Published: 11 Jun 2019. This work was supported by EPA STAR grant R835425 Impacts of Household Sources on Outdoor Pollution at Village and Regional Scales in India. The contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the US EPA. Yuan Wang appreciates the support from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and support from the US National Science Foundation (award no. 1700727). This research has been supported by EPA STAR (grant no. R835425). Data availability. The gridded data files of PM2.5 used in this study are available from the authors upon request by email. Surface measurements of various atmospheric chemicals and meteorology are available from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) of the Ministry of Environment and Forests of the Government of India at http://www.cpcb.gov.in/CAAQM/frmUserAvgReportCriteria.aspxTS1 (CPCB, 2019; last access: 28 May 2019). Initial and boundary condition data for WRF meteorological simulations are from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) ERA5, generated using Copernicus Climate Change Service Information and available at https://cds.climate.copernicus.eu/cdsapp\#!/home (Copernicus Climate Change Services, 2017; last access: 28 May 2019). Neither the European Commission nor ECMWF is responsible for any use that may be made of the Copernicus information or data it contains. Author contributions. BR carried out the simulations and wrote the paper. RZ, YW and KB assisted with the simulations. AP carried out field measurements. SS, SK, TB, NL, BO, LX, and VG helped formulate the emissions inventory. LF, RW, SM, and DB designed and carried out measurements. SN, RE, AY, and NA performed data analysis. KS designed the research. JS designed the research and wrote the paper. The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest. This paper was edited by Qiang Zhang and reviewed by three anonymous referees.

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