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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2015, Article ID 643714, 11 pages
Research Article

Assessment of Population Exposure to Coarse and Fine Particulate Matter in the Urban Areas of Chennai, India

Center for Climate Change and Adaptation Research, College of Engineering, Anna University, Guindy Campus, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600 025, India

Received 26 April 2015; Revised 27 May 2015; Accepted 11 June 2015

Academic Editor: Alan W. Gertler

Copyright © 2015 Ramachandran Prasannavenkatesh et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Research outcomes from the epidemiological studies have found that the course (PM10) and the fine particulate matter (PM2.5) are mainly responsible for various respiratory health effects for humans. The population-weighted exposure assessment is used as a vital decision-making tool to analyze the vulnerable areas where the population is exposed to critical concentrations of pollutants. Systemic sampling was carried out at strategic locations of Chennai to estimate the various concentration levels of particulate pollution during November 2013–January 2014. The concentration of the pollutants was classified based on the World Health Organization interim target (IT) guidelines. Using geospatial information systems the pollution and the high-resolution population data were interpolated to study the extent of the pollutants at the urban scale. The results show that approximately 28% of the population resides in vulnerable locations where the coarse particulate matter exceeds the prescribed standards. Alarmingly, the results of the analysis of fine particulates show that about 94% of the inhabitants live in critical areas where the concentration of the fine particulates exceeds the IT guidelines. Results based on human exposure analysis show the vulnerability is more towards the zones which are surrounded by prominent sources of pollution.