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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 69-74

Measurement of exposed carbon (II) oxide and air particulate matter concentrations in aba metropolis

Department of Chemistry/Biochemistry, School of Science and Industrial Technology, Abia State Polytechnic, Aba, Abia State, Nigeria

Date of Submission15-Apr-2019
Date of Acceptance13-Aug-2019
Date of Web Publication27-Sep-2019

Correspondence Address:
Uche Stephen Akataobi
Department of Chemistry/Biochemistry, School of Science and Industrial Technology, Abia State Polytechnic, Aba, Abia State
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ed.ed_15_19

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Purpose: This study measured the level of air pollution; carbon monoxide (CO) and air particulate matter caused by human activities in Aba metropolis. Ten sample locations were selected from the most busy and populated part of the city (Aba South), based on human activities such as burning of tires, wood, rubber materials, construction and factory activities, vehicular emission, and the use of combustion engines.
Material and Methods: Level of pollution was measured in the ten sample locations using Gasman air monitor for CO and Haz-Dust monitor for perticulater matter; once a week, twice a month (the 1st and 4th week) for 4 months.
Results: Data collected were analyzed using one-way analysis of variance; the highest mean average value of 66.81 ppm was recorded in Water Side Junction, 4.508 ppm in Asa/Azikiwe Junction, 42.506 and 42.166 ppm in Main Park and Ngwa Road Junction, 39.667 ppm in Opopo Junction, 36.009 ppm in Portharcut Road Junction, 35.833 in New Market Road Junction, 33.833 ppm in Milverton Junction, whereas 33.666 ppm in Bata Junction was recorded as the lowest mean value of CO. PPM gave an average mean value between 4.921 μg/m3 and 5.415 μg/m3.
Conclusion: The result then indicates CO pollution in the sampled locations.

Keywords: Air pollution, carbon monoxide, particulate matter

How to cite this article:
Akataobi US. Measurement of exposed carbon (II) oxide and air particulate matter concentrations in aba metropolis. Environ Dis 2019;4:69-74

How to cite this URL:
Akataobi US. Measurement of exposed carbon (II) oxide and air particulate matter concentrations in aba metropolis. Environ Dis [serial online] 2019 [cited 2023 Mar 30];4:69-74. Available from: http://www.environmentmed.org/text.asp?2019/4/3/69/268147

  Introduction Top

Deposition of air pollutants in the atmospheric environment has resulted in a growing environmental concern about its harmful effects on healthy living of individuals in polluted areas.[1] These pollutants are off different forms and sizes, introduced into the atmospheric environment through human and natural activities.

They include particles of different sizes, gases, and oxides such as carbon monoxide (CO), sulfur oxide, carbon dioxide (CO2), and nitrogen oxide (NO) generated from the combustion of fuels and in the oxidation of compounds present in raw material.[2] Air pollution, one of the world's leading environmental pollutions has been defined as the deposition of chemical substances, particles, and biological materials into the atmosphere resulting in health challenges in humans and affect plants;[3] these include dust, gases, fog, and acid rain.[4]

Anthropogenic and natural air pollution are the most common explained air pollution sources. Human activities (anthropogenic sources) introduce harmful air pollutants for instance industrial power plants, vehicular emission; internal combustion engines release NO, CO, and sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere whereas construction sites and factory activities releases tiny particles mostly in the form of dust.[5] These are also referred to as primary pollutants which are emitted directly from human activities and can be converted to more deadly pollutants; secondary pollutants which occurs as a result of chemicals reactions of primary pollutants in the atmosphere when exposed to sunlight.[6] This has been shown to have damaging effects on human health and the ecosystem; and increase death rate in the populace exposed to it.[5] Activities in construction sites and factories that produce and package dry powdered products like the cement factories, introduce air tiny particulates into the atmosphere which is associated with respiratory challenges in exposed individuals.[4]

Other sources include the use of improperly maintained generators, burning of plastics (rubber), and tires. Studies have shown that burning of tires not only result in the introduction of oxides like CO in the atmosphere but also led to the introduction of metals into the environment which are a common practice in most cities, majorly populated ones.[7],[8] In remote areas burning of waste crops by farmers, the use of aerosol spray, leaking tanks, and improperly maintained or uncompleted roads also contributes in the introduction of air tiny particles.[5]

Carbon monoxide

Carbon monoxide exists as a toxic, colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas with no detectable odor, slightly lighter than air able to coexist and mix properly with other gasses like oxygen that have detectable odor in a breathable form and can be inhaled unknowingly.[9] When there is insufficient oxygen to reduce the produced CO to CO2, its concentration are elevated and are very toxic.[1] This mostly occurs when activities such as burning of tires and the use of equipment that generate this toxic gas, like internal combustion engines are operated in an enclosed space which allows direct contact with human.[6],[5]

Furthermore, in slaughter houses or areas where animals are been burnt with tire and other rubber materials that produce CO in huge amount, air quality is affected and both people carrying out this harmful practices and those leaving around get exposed to this toxic gas;[10] in Aba, metropolis one of the major places this occurs is Water Side Junction by Water side Bridge where animals are been slaughtered burnt and washed in Aba River. Studies has shown that in such areas; exposure to high concentration of this toxic gas is common,[5] which led to reduction in oxygen carrying capacity of the blood or displace it totally reducing the supply of oxygen to most vital organs of the body like the brain and heart.[11]

Followed by conditions such as carboxyhemoglobin, neuropsychiatric syndrome (delayed neuropsychiatric syndrome) shown by victims of acute CO poisoning.[6]

Large amount of CO can overcome one within a limited time of inhaling without warning causing loss of consciousness and suffocation. During prolonged or high exposures, symptoms may worsen and include vomiting, confusion and collapse in addition to loss of consciousness and muscle weakness. Symptoms of CO poisoning vary widely from person to person, those most susceptible are young children, elderly people, people with lung or heart disease, those who already have elevated CO blood levels, such as smokers.[10]

Almost every instrument that burn fuel can produce CO in different concentrations as a result of incomplete combustion or burning of gaseous, solid, or liquid fuels. At lower levels of exposure, CO causes mild effects that are often mistaken for food poisoning or flu with symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, disorientation, nausea, and fatigue depending on the concentration and length of exposure can also cause to death.[5]

Perticulater matter

A mixture of very little fine powered solid particles and liquid droplets suspended and floating in the air, can either be directly introduce into the air by natural source (primary perticulater matter [PM]) or be formed in the atmosphere from emitted gaseous precursors such as oxides of nitrogen, sulfur dioxide, and nonmethane volatile organic substance (secondary PM).[12]

Formation of secondary particles in the air is as a result of chemical reactions of emitted gaseous pollutants; via atmospheric transformation of NO generated by traffic and some industrial activities and sulfur dioxides from combustion of sulfur-containing fuels,[13] PM also comprises ultrafine particles having a diameter of <0.1 μm.[14]

Been extremely small and almost invisible to necked eye have attracted the attentions of air quality specialists because of its harmful effects, and the ability of these particles <2.5 μm in diameter to pass through the nose and throat into the lung.,[5] The ambient air concentration of particulate matter (PM) is mostly high in developing areas as a result of higher dust on the roads, continues constructions, and industrial activates.[3]

Classified based on their size as

Coarse particulate matter (PM10 μm)

As those particles <10 μm in diameter and are produce as a result of road dust, dust from agricultural practice, mining operations, industrial practices such as the production of cement, construction sites, and river beds.[12] Studies has shown that PM10 are easily transported through the upper respiratory tract into the bronchioles and alveoli of the lung, causing direct harmful effects.[15]

Fine particulate matter (PM2.5 μm)

As particles <2.5 μm in diameter and are primarily the product of power plants, vehicular emissions, burning of woods, and wild land fires. This form of PM can also take the form of thick black smoke released from the exhaust pipes of improperly maintained vehicles, swirls of dust gathered by wind from uncompleted roads.[15]

Deposition of inhaled particles

Billions of particles are inhaled via ambient air by humans and are been deposited in the respiratory tract based on their characteristics which include size, shape density, surface properties of the particle, and breathing pattern of the individual.[11]

Particles smaller than 10 μm in diameter are potentially toxic and biologically harmful when inhaled, due to the ability of the inhaled particles to be carried easily along with the tidal air through respiratory system, as a result of forces acting on the movement of the particles.[16] According to Nwachukwu et al.,[1] an urgent need is necessary for the standardization of PM2.5μm measurement technique because of its harmful effect on human health, suggesting that quality standard should be maintained.

CO and PM are anthropogenic air pollutants, their introduction in the air affects air quality, with serious harmful effects on humans and ecosystems. This study is design to measure the concentration of CO and PM in Aba metropolis; as caused by human activities in the city including vehicular emission, use of combustion engines and other equipments that burn fuels, burning of tire, rubber and other materials that generate and introduce smoke (CO) and other substances into the atmosphere and continues construction of roads, buildings and uncompleted roads that emits and deposited huge amount of particles of different sizes into the atmosphere seen as a common practice in this area.

  Materials and Methods Top

Study area

[Figure 1] shows the study area in Aba, a city in the southeast of Nigeria and the commercial center of Abia State. It is divided into two regions Aba North and Aba South. Aba South the main focus of this study is the city center and commercial heart beat; known for its large business power involving importation and distribution of goods, farming and sales of farm produce to nearby towns and States such as Akawibom, Cross River, and IMO.
Figure 1: Map of Aba; showing the study area (Aba South) and the point where data were collected

Click here to view

Aba South contains a number of factories burning fuel to run generators used in manufacturing, packaging of products, construction of different products as well as hotels, and local places of leisure that use combustion engines that continually produce smoke.

Transporting this large population create major car and Keke parks as well as truck parks for moving construction materials to different parts of the city resulting in a continues emission of smoke and particles into the atmosphere. Due to this always busy, congested and largely populated state of the city it was chosen for this study.

Sample location

Ten sampling locations were used for this study, based on traffic congestion, human and industrial activities within Aba South. They include Emelogu Junction (used as control) because its less populated with less industrial and commercial activities, Opopo Junction, is a busy point characterized by its large population, large number of commercial, and private vehicles operating in this location as well as use of combustion engines that produce and deposit huge amount of smoke and particles introduce into the air.

Waterside Junction, where the larger amount of smoke is been produced in the city because of burning of tires and other rubber materials by butchers and constant hold-up seen due to populated number of vehicles moving in all directions at this point. Asa/Azikwe Junction was considered in this study because of continual vehicular emission and large number of combustion engines used in this point. Bata Junction and Main Park are the main points in the city where vehicles leaving and coming in from other parts of the country and within the town meet; highly populated with human activities emitting huge amount of smoke and particles of all size. Milverton Junction, is a point considered for its large number of business posts, construction sites and with continues use of combustion engines and other establishment, Port Harcourt Road Junction, New Market Junction and Ngwa Road Junction were selected as sampling points because of similar features including population, large number of vehicles, and steady human activities that constantly emit different amount of smoke and particles of different sizes.


The concentrations of carbon (II) oxide and air PM were measured in these ten locations once a week, twice a month (the 1st and 4th week) for 4 months. Instruments used was setup according to the manufacture instrument manual, Crowcon air monitor make use of dry cell batteries which was checked and replaced if the life capacity was not enough for the instrument to operate. This version of Gasman air monitor uses a catalytic bead sensor which ultimately measures the concentration of specific gas in the air (in this case CO) and the Haz-Dust monitor uses an electrode that is very sensitive and ultimately measures the concentration of particles suspended in the air.

Both instruments were switched on allowed to calibrate, after which they were placed 50 cm above the ground, and reading recorded when its steady.

Data analysis

Data obtained were analyzed using one-way analysis of variance. The Statistical Package for the Social Science version 21. 0 was used for the analysis.

  Results and Discussion Top

The result obtained showed an average mean value of CO in the ten sample locations measured to be higher than the average mean value of PM and also the level of exposure of this pollutant (CO) at most sampling points were found to be above the threshold limit of the Nigerian Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS), which stipulated an average value of 10 ppm for CO and 250 μg/m3 for PM[5] in 1–8 h time of exposure compared to average time of 45 minutes to 1 h time of exposure used in this study.

Furthermore, 11–14 (μg/m3) or 10 (ppm) for CO and 0–75 μg/m3 as high quality, 76–230 μg/m3 as moderate quality and 213–600 μg/m3 as poor quality for PM, were also reported as ambient air quality standard in Nigeria.[12] Which indicated that the areas covered where polluted with CO which gave an average mean value between 15.16 and 66.835 ppm.

From [Table 1], above the mean average concentrations of CO (ppm) in nine out of the ten sampling points were above the NAAQS provided by the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (FEPA),[5] which stipulates a range of 10–20 ppm average value for 8 h work day, significantly higher when compared to 45 min/h time spent in the sample location during measurement and data collection.[10],[4]
Table 1: The mean average concentration of the measured pollutants

Click here to view

A higher average mean value of 66.83 ppm for CO [Table 1] and [Figure 1] was recorded in Water Side Junction, which can be said to be as a result of human activities in this location which include continues burning of tires, rubber, and wood that generate huge amount of CO on burning and large number of vehicles operating in this location as well as the use of combustion engines by business posts, 6, 16, 11 reported a similar result of increase in CO concentration as a result of combustion engines and burning of tire and other rubber materials and[1] reported an increase in CO and PM concentrations in relation to human activities in River State, Nigeria; adding that increase in CO are associated with increase rate of disease conditions and deaths of the exposed population.

This is followed by mean average value of 45.508 ppm, recorded in Asa/Azikwe Junction, believed to be caused by large number of combustion engines used in this location and vehicular emission, which is in line with the study of[7] and 42.506 ppm mean average value, recorded in Main Park which can be attributed to large number of vehicle operating in this location and continues use of generators and other combustion engines by large populated shops all around the location; significantly higher versus the control and the NAAQ standard, which is in agreement with the reports of 1, 9, and 15 that indicated increase in CO concentration as a result of vehicular and industrial emissions.

42.166 ppm was recorded in Ngwa Road Junction seen to be due to constant vehicular emission and human activities that constantly emit different amount of smoke such as burning of rubber materials.

Mean average value of 39.667 ppm recorded in Opopo Junction is believed to be as a result of large number of commercial and private vehicles operating in this location as well as use of combustion engines which contribute to the deposition of huge amount of smoke and particles into the atmosphere, a similar result has been reported by[7] which agreed that the use of combustion engines and large number of vehicles in cities contribute to the elevation in the level of pollutants such as CO in populated cites. 36.009 and 35.833 ppm was measured in Portharcout Road Junction and New Market Road Junction believed to be as a result of vehicular emission in this area and steady human activities that constantly emit different amount of smoke and particles of different sizes such as burning of waste materials from shops.

33.833 and 33.667 ppm was recorded in Milverton and Bata Junction, respectively, though been significantly higher versus control and NAAQS were not as high as the previous locations. Furthermore, this result is believed to be as a result factory activities, construction sites, and private and commercial which operate in this location with continues use of combustion engines and vehicular emission which is mostly common in this area, especially Bata Junction.

The result [Table 1] and [Figure 2] also revealed that all mean average values obtained for the concentrations of suspended PM in this study from all the sampling points were below the NAAQS which gave a range of 250 μg/m3–600 μg/m3 for 8 h average exposure provided by the FEPA, Nigeria[6] when compared to 45 min/h time spent in the sample locations during measurement and data collection.
Figure 2: Mean of carbon monoxide concentrations

Click here to view

The lowest mean average value of 4.921 μg/m3 was recorded in Ngwa Road Junction, whereas the highest mean average value of 5.415 μg/m3 is at Asa/Azikiwe Junction; the level of PM concentration in the sampled locations is believed to be influenced by the presence of factories and level of construction activities in the locations as well as uncompleted roads. A result in agreement with the report of [Table 1] and [Figure 3].[8]
Figure 3: Mean value of particulate matter concentrations

Click here to view

Also to be considered in this result is the time, in which this reading was taking (between April and July) this is because studies have shown that PM concentrations is higher during dry season,[17] when compared the time the reading was taking.

  Conclusion /recommendation Top

From this study, it can be concluded that the concentration of CO in nine out of the ten sampling point were above the NAAQS stipulation thus these areas are polluted while at the time of this study it is shown that these location are free from PM pollution. This study reveals that transport-related pollution, industrial activities, Automobile emission, burning of tire and wood, etc., are the major contributors of CO to the atmosphere in ABA metropolises. Hence, it can be suggested that the following proper air quality management programs should be carried out to improve the quality of air within ABA:

  1. Proper measures should be taken to reduce or control traffic movement and use of equipment that burn fuel in the city, in other to reduce the emission of smoke into the atmosphere
  2. Factories and construction sites that generate huge amount of particles in the city should be properly regulated
  3. The activity in Water Side Junction involving burning of animal with tire and rubber materials should be properly regulated or completely removed to reduce the amount of smoke deposited daily in this populated part of the city.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Nwachukwu AN, Chukwuocha EO, Igbudu O. A survey on the effects of air pollution on diseases of the people of Rivers state, Nigeria. Afr J Environ Sci Technol 2012;6:371-9. Available from: http://www.academicjournals.org/AJEST. [Last accessed on 2019 Jan 10].  Back to cited text no. 1
Isah AB, Timothy MC, Ternenge J. Assessment of CO, CO2 and suspended particulate matter emissions. Leonardo Electron J Pract Technol 2007;4:2-5.  Back to cited text no. 2
Jimoda LA. Effects of Particulate matter on human health, the ecosystem, climate and materials. FACT-University, Series. Working Living Environ 2012;9:27-44.  Back to cited text no. 3
Babatunde SB, Kofoworola AO, Adeola O. Air quality assessment in the vicinity of cement company department of environmental management and toxicology. Int Res J Nat Sci 2013;1:34-42.  Back to cited text no. 4
Akinyemi ML, Usikalu MR. Investigation of carbon monoxide concentration from anthropogenic sources in Lagos. Int J Phys Sci 2013;8:1128-32.  Back to cited text no. 5
Roger CM, Wendy C, Anna NC, Mark A. Neuropsychiatric aspects of carbon monoxide poisoning diagnosis and management. Adv Psychiatr Treat 2012;18:94-101.  Back to cited text no. 6
NHS. Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Symptoms; 2014. Available from: http://www.OSHAFACTSHEET.org/Carbon. [Last accessed on 2018 Dec 18].  Back to cited text no. 7
Hodgson, E. A textbook of modern toxicology. 3rd ed. A John Wiley & Sons, INC publication. Wiley interscience 2004;3:410-4.  Back to cited text no. 8
OSHA FACT Sheet. Carbon Monoxide Poisoning. U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration; 2002.  Back to cited text no. 9
Telesca L, Lovallo M. Complexity analysis in particulate matter measurements. Comput Ecol Softw 2011;1:146-52.  Back to cited text no. 10
Santosh K, Prajapati D. Ecological effect of airborne particulate matter on plants. Department of Botany, Guru Ghasidas Vishwavidyalaya, Bilaspur. Afr J Environ Sci Technol 2012;9:372-6.  Back to cited text no. 11
World Health Organization-Europe. Health Effects of Particulate Matter; Policy Implementation for Countries in Eastern Europe. Europe: World Health Organization; 2013.  Back to cited text no. 12
United States Environmental Protection Agency. Particulate Matter. State of Alaska Division of Air Quality. Willoughby Ave: United States Environmental Protection Agency; 2011.  Back to cited text no. 13
Colbeck I, Lazaridis M. Aerosol and environmental pollution. Biomed Life Sci 2010;97:117-31.  Back to cited text no. 14
Heyder J. Deposition of inhaled particles in the human respiratory tract and consequences for regional targeting in respiratory drug delivery. Proc Am Thorac Soc 2004;1:315-20.  Back to cited text no. 15
Knobeloch L, Jackson R. Recognition of chronic carbon monoxide poisoning. WMJ 1999;98:26-9.  Back to cited text no. 16
Nwachukwu A, Ugwuanyi JU. Air pollution and its possible health effects on rural dwellers in Rivers State, Nigeria. Afr J Phys 2010;3:217-40.  Back to cited text no. 17


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3]

  [Table 1]


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