Multi-criteria ranking and receptor modelling of airborne fine particles at three sites in the Pearl River Delta region of China

Adrian J. Friend, Godwin A. Ayoko, Hai Guo

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


The multi-criteria decision making methods, Preference Ranking Organization METHods for Enrichment Evaluation (PROMETHEE) and Graphical Analysis for Interactive Assistance (GAIA), and the two-way Positive Matrix Factorization (PMF) receptor model were applied to airborne fine particle compositional data collected at three sites in Hong Kong during two monitoring campaigns held from November 2000 to October 2001 and November 2004 to October 2005. PROMETHEE/GAIA indicated that the three sites were worse during the later monitoring campaign, and that the order of the air quality at the sites during each campaign was: rural site > urban site > roadside site. The PMF analysis on the other hand, identified 6 common sources at all of the sites (diesel vehicle, fresh sea salt, secondary sulphate, soil, aged sea salt and oil combustion) which accounted for approximately 68.8 ± 8.7% of the fine particle mass at the sites. In addition, road dust, gasoline vehicle, biomass burning, secondary nitrate, and metal processing were identified at some of the sites. Secondary sulphate was found to be the highest contributor to the fine particle mass at the rural and urban sites with vehicle emission as a high contributor to the roadside site. The PMF results are broadly similar to those obtained in a previous analysis by PCA/APCS. However, the PMF analysis resolved more factors at each site than the PCA/APCS. In addition, the study demonstrated that combined results from multi-criteria decision making analysis and receptor modelling can provide more detailed information that can be used to formulate the scientific basis for mitigating air pollution in the region.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)719-737
Number of pages19
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2011


  • Air quality
  • Hong Kong
  • Multi-criteria ranking
  • PM 2.5
  • Receptor modelling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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