Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in urban atmosphere of Hong Kong

Shuncheng Lee, M. Y. Chiu, K. F. Ho, S. C. Zou, Xinming Wang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

269 Citations (Scopus)


The assessment of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) has become a major issue of air quality network monitoring in Hong Kong. This study is aimed to identify, quantify and characterize volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in different urban areas in Hong Kong. The spatial distribution, temporal variation as well as correlations of VOCs at five roadside sampling sites were discussed. Twelve VOCs were routinely detected in urban areas (Mong Kok, Kwai Chung, Yuen Long and Causeway Bay). The concentrations of VOCs ranged from undetectable to 1396 μg/m3. Among all of the VOC species, toluene has the highest concentration. Benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylenes (BTEX) were the major constituents (more than 60% in composition of total VOC detected), mainly contributed from mobile sources. Similar to other Asian cities, the VOC levels measured in urban areas in Hong Kong were affected both by automobile exhaust and industrial emissions. High toluene to benzene ratios (average T/B ratio = 5) was also found in Hong Kong as in other Asian cities. In general, VOC concentrations in the winter were higher than those measured in the summer (winter to summer ratio > 1). As toluene and benzene were the major pollutants from vehicle exhausts, there is a necessity to tighten automobile emission standards in Hong Kong.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-382
Number of pages8
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2002


  • BTEX correlation
  • BTEX ratio
  • Urban area
  • VOCs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry

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