|M.Sc Student||Haim Maayan|
|Subject||Characterization of Exposure to Sulfur Dioxide and Nitrogen|
Oxides in the Hadera Region
|Department||Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering||Supervisor||Professor David Broday|
|Full Thesis text|
Sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) are main anthropogenic air pollutants. They were shown to have adverse health effects in humans, ranging from respiratory symptoms to cardiovascular symptoms. Power plants are significant emitters of these pollutants. Power generation has also been associated with health impacts, specifically respiratory problems, pregnancy complications, and premature death.
The Hadera District, being the home to the largest coal-burning power plant (Orot Rabin - ORPP) in Israel, has drawn special attention regarding possible relationships between air pollution and health. A few epidemiological studies were conducted in the region during the last two decades. However, each of these studies used a different environmental exposure metric and their results were inconclusive. It is possible that these studies suffer from severe exposure misclassification, and therefore their inconclusive results do not answer the question where and to what extent ORPP affects public health in the Hadera region.
The main goal of the current work was to characterize the exposure to SO2 and NOx in the Hadera region using environmental monitoring data, ORPP emissions data, and meteorological data.
It was found that the local population is exposed to a variety of air pollution sources, including power plants, industrial plants and transportation. Most of the sources affecting each monitoring station were identified. Annual average SO2 concentrations are much lower than the Israeli standard and are continuously decreasing whereas annual average NOx concentrations are closer to the WHO standard.
Analysis of seasonal and diurnal patterns revealed that transportation-affected monitoring stations observe higher NOx concentrations in the winter than in the summer whereas industry-affected stations record similar concentrations in both seasons. Seasonal SO2 concentrations follow the seasonal winds pattern. Each monitoring station is affected by ORPP at a somewhat different hour during the summer days, depending on its location. NOx concentrations are higher during the day and highest in the stations that are closest to major roads and urban centers.
A method was developed for estimating the maximal fraction of ambient nitrogen oxides attributed to ORPP emissions in each monitoring station. The results are in general agreement with findings throughout the research, and the calculation is not very sensitive to local SO2 sources. Generally, it seems that in spite of the clear dominance of NOx emissions from ORPP, transportation is the main NOx source affecting ambient air quality in the region. Thus, future NOx abatement programs should take traffic management into consideration.