Measurement report: Firework impacts on air quality in Metro Manila, Philippines, during the 2019 New Year revelry

Genevieve Rose Lorenzo, Paola Angela Bañaga, Maria Obiminda Cambaliza, Melliza Templonuevo Cruz, Mojtaba Azadiaghdam, Avelino Arellano, Grace Betito, Rachel Braun, Andrea F. Corral, Hossein Dadashazar, Eva Lou Edwards, Edwin Eloranta, Robert Holz, Gabrielle Leung, Lin Ma, Alexander B. Macdonald, Jeffrey S. Reid, James Bernard Simpas, Connor Stahl, Shane Marie VisagaArmin Sorooshian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Fireworks degrade air quality, reduce visibility, alter atmospheric chemistry, and cause short-term adverse health effects. However, there have not been any comprehensive physicochemical and optical measurements of fireworks and their associated impacts in a Southeast Asia megacity, where fireworks are a regular part of the culture. Sizeresolved particulate matter (PM) measurements were made before, during, and after New Year 2019 at the Manila Observatory in Quezon City, Philippines, as part of the Cloud, Aerosol, and Monsoon Processes Philippines Experiment (CAMP2Ex). A high-spectral-resolution lidar (HSRL) recorded a substantial increase in backscattered signal associated with high aerosol loading ∼ 440m above the surface during the peak of firework activities around 00:00 (local time). This was accompanied by PM2:5 concentrations peaking at 383.9 μgm-3. During the firework event, watersoluble ions and elements, which affect particle formation, growth, and fate, were mostly in the submicrometer diameter range. Total (>0:056 μm) water-soluble bulk particle mass concentrations were enriched by 5.7 times during the fireworks relative to the background (i.e., average of before and after the firework). The water-soluble mass fraction of PM2:5 increased by 18.5% above that of background values. This corresponded to increased volume fractions of inorganics which increased bulk particle hygroscopicity, kappa (κ), from 0.11 (background) to 0.18 (fireworks). Potassium and non-sea-salt (nss) SO2-4 contributed the most (70.9 %) to the water-soluble mass, with their mass size distributions shifting from a smaller to a larger submicrometer mode during the firework event. On the other hand, mass size distributions for NO3- , Cl-, and Mg2+ (21.1% mass contribution) shifted from a supermicrometer mode to a submicrometer mode. Being both uninfluenced by secondary aerosol formation and constituents of firework materials, a subset of species were identified as the best firework tracer species (Cu, Ba, Sr, K+, Al, and Pb). Although these species (excluding K+) only contributed 2.1% of the total mass concentration of watersoluble ions and elements, they exhibited the highest enrichments (6.1 to 65.2) during the fireworks. Surface microscopy analysis confirmed the presence of potassium/chloride-rich cubic particles along with capsule-shaped particles in firework samples. The results of this study highlight how firework emissions change the physicochemical and optical properties of water-soluble particles (e.g., mass size distribution, composition, hygroscopicity, and aerosol backscatter), which subsequently alters the background aerosol's respirability, influence on surroundings, ability to uptake gases, and viability as cloud condensation nuclei (CCN).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6155-6173
Number of pages19
JournalAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 23 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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