Characteristics of emissions of air pollutants from burning of incense in temples, Hong Kong

B. Wang, Shuncheng Lee, K. F. Ho, Y. M. Kang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

83 Citations (Scopus)


Field investigations of target air pollutants at two of the most famous temples in Hong Kong were conducted. The air pollution problems in these two temples during peak and non-peak periods were characterized. The target air pollutants included particulate matters (PM10, PM2.5), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), carbonyl compounds, carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxides (NOx), methane (CH4), non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHC), organic carbon (OC), elemental carbon (EC), and inorganic ions (Cl-, NO3-, SO42-, Na+, NH4+, and K+). The pollutant levels of the two temples during peak period were shown to be significantly higher than those during non-peak period. The highest average CO level was obtained at Temple 1 during peak period, which exceeded IAQO 8-h Good Class criteria. In general, the average PM2.5/PM10ratios were approximately 82%. The results revealed that the fine particulates (PM2.5) constituted the majority of suspended particulates at both temples. It was noted that formaldehyde was the most abundant carbonyl compounds, followed by acetaldehyde. At Temple 1 during peak period, the average benzene concentration exceeded almost 8 times more than Indoor Air Quality Objectives for Office Buildings and Public Places (IAQO) [HKEPD, 2003. Guidance notes for the management of indoor air quality in offices and public places. Indoor air quality management group, The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.] Good Class criteria. The average OC/EC ratios ranged from 2.6 to 17 in PM10and from 4.2 to 18 in PM2.5at two temples, which suggested that OC measured in these two temple areas may be due to both direct emission from incense burning and secondary formation by chemical reactions. The total mass of inorganic ions, organic carbon, and elemental carbon accounted for about 71% in PM2.5and 72% in PM10.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-60
Number of pages9
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2007


  • Burning of incense
  • Formaldehyde
  • Particulate matter
  • Temple
  • VOCs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


Dive into the research topics of 'Characteristics of emissions of air pollutants from burning of incense in temples, Hong Kong'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this