Atmospheric particulate matter pollution during the 2008 Beijing Olympics

Environ Sci Technol. 2009 Jul 15;43(14):5314-20. doi: 10.1021/es9007504.


Size fractionated particulate matter (PM) samples (including PM2.5 and PM10) were collected at Peking University in Northwestern Beijing, China for a 2 week period prior to the Olympics, during the 2 week period of the Olympics, and for a 4 week period following the 2008 Olympics, during both source control and nonsource control periods. PM10 concentrations in this study were high correlated with, but a factor of 1.3 times higher than, the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau's PM10 concentrations at near-by sites because of differences in the measurement methods used. The mean PM2.5 and PM10 concentrations were statistically different, and lower by 31 and 35%, during the Olympic period compared to the non-Olympic period. However, the PM concentrations were not statistically different between the source control and nonsource control periods. While meteorological parameters (air masses from the south and precipitation) accounted for 40% of the total variation in PM10 concentration, source control accounted for 16%, suggesting that meteorology accounted for more of the variation in PM concentration than source control measures. The PM10 concentrations in Beijing during the Olympic period were 2.9, 3.5, and 1.9 times higher than those in Atlanta, Sydney, and Athens. In addition, the PM2.5 and PM10 concentrations during the Olympic period exceeded the WHO 24-h guideline 100% and 81% of the time, respectively. Finally, the PM10 concentrations in October, November, and December 2008 were reduced by 9-27% compared to the same months in 2007, suggesting that the Olympic source control efforts (and possibly a down turn in the economy) have resulted in lower PM10 concentrations in Beijing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / analysis*
  • Atmosphere / chemistry*
  • China
  • Cities*
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods
  • Meteorology
  • Particle Size
  • Particulate Matter / analysis*
  • Seasons
  • Sports*
  • Wind


  • Air Pollutants
  • Particulate Matter