Volatile organic compounds in roadside microenvironments of metropolitan Hong Kong

C. Y. Chan, L. Y. Chan, X. M. Wang, Y. M. Liu, Shuncheng Lee, S. C. Zou, G. Y. Sheng, J. M. Fu

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123 Citations (Scopus)


The characteristics and concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the roadside microenvironments of metropolitan Hong Kong were investigated. The VOC concentrations, especially toluene, benzene and chlorinated VOCs in Hong Kong were high when compared with those in most developed cities. The average and maximum concentration of toluene was 74.9 and 320.0μgm-3, respectively. The respective values for benzene were 25.9 and 128.6μgm-3. The chlorinated VOCs were dominated by trichloroethylene and tetrachloroethylene. The maximum concentrations of these two species reached 248.2 and 144.0μgm-3, respectively. There were strong variations in the spatial fluctuation and characteristic of VOC concentrations. The highest VOC concentrations were found in the industrial district, which were followed by those in the commercial district, the central business district and finally the residential district. The highest concentrations of most VOC species, especially chlorinated VOC were found in the industrial and commercial districts. The average benzene/toluene ratio in Hong Kong was 0.5 suggesting that vehicular emission was the dominant VOC source in most areas of Hong Kong. There were strong deviations in benzene/toluene, benzene/ethylbenzene and benzene/(m+p-xylene) ratios in the commercial district, and highly chlorinated VOC in the industrial and commercial districts. These suggest that there were other benzene and VOC sources overlying on the high background VOC concentrations in these districts. The common usage of organic solvents in the building and construction industries, and in the small industries in the industrial and commercial districts were believed to be important sources of VOC in Hong Kong.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2039-2047
Number of pages9
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jun 2002


  • Metropolitan Hong Kong
  • Roadside microenvironments
  • Vehicular emissions
  • Volatile organic compounds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Atmospheric Science


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