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The impact of ground-level fireworks (13 km long) display on the air quality during the traditional Yanshui Lantern Festival in Taiwan


In this study, the concentrations of CO, non-methane hydrocarbons, NOX, SO2, benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene (BTEX), PM10, and PM2.5 were continuously monitored before and after the fireworks display during the traditional Lantern Festival from March 2–7, 2007 in Yanshui Town, Taiwan. Major roads in Yanshui Town were surrounded by fireworks 13 km in length, with the display lasting for 45 min. More than 200 small firecracker towers popped up randomly in town, resulting in exceedingly inhomogeneous air quality until the end of display at 03:00 the next day, March 5. During the fireworks display, the hourly concentration of PM10 and PM2.5 at Yanshui Primary School reached about 429 and 250 μg m − 3, respectively, which is 10 times the normal level, and 6 s values even went as high as 1,046 and 842 μg m − 3, respectively. Similarly, BTEX concentration went up to about five to 10 times its normal value during the fireworks display. As indicated by the distribution of submicron particle sizes, the number of particles with a diameter less than 100 nm increased abruptly during the event period. Metal components with concentrations of more than 10 times higher than the normal value at Yanshui Primary School were Sr, K, Ba, Pb, Al, Mg, and Cu, in sequence. Among water-soluble ions, the content of K + , Mg2 + , and Cl −  increased the most, all of which were related to the materials used in the fireworks. The results of this study indicate that fireworks can cause an abrupt increase in the concentration of trace substances in the air within a short period. Although the risks of these trace substances on public health remain to be further assessed, the study results can be utilized in the management of folk events.

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Correspondence to Chung-Te Lee.

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Chang, SC., Lin, TH., Young, CY. et al. The impact of ground-level fireworks (13 km long) display on the air quality during the traditional Yanshui Lantern Festival in Taiwan. Environ Monit Assess 172, 463–479 (2011).

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  • Fireworks display
  • BTEX
  • Metals
  • Water-soluble ions
  • Submicron particles