School of Earth, Environmental, and Marine Sciences Faculty Publications and Presentations

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Agricultural stubble burning is the third largest source of air pollution after vehicular and industrial emissions. Fine particulate matter (PM2.5), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and black carbon (BC) are some of the pollutants emitted during such burning events. The Lower Rio Grande Valley (RGV) region of South Texas is a major hub of agricultural activity, and sugarcane farming is one of them. Unfortunately, this activity results in episodic events of high air pollution in this low-resourced, Hispanic/Latino majority region of the U.S.–Mexico border. This study presents results from a sugarcane site in La Feria, South Texas, where the air quality was monitored before, during, and after the sugarcane stubble burning. Various parameters were monitored on an hourly basis from 24 February 2022 to 4 April 2022. Our results demonstrate high levels of all the monitored pollutants during the burning phase in contrast to the pre- and post-burning period. The black carbon levels went up to 6.43 µg m−3 on the day of burning activity. An increase of 10%, 11.6%, 25.29%, 55%, and 67.57% was recorded in the PM1, PM2.5, PM10, Black Carbon, and CO levels, respectively, during the burning period in comparison with the total study period. The absorption Ångström exponent value reached a maximum value of 2.03 during the burning activity. ThePM2.5/PM10 ratio was 0.87 during the burning activity. This study also highlights the importance for continuous monitoring of air quality levels due to stubble burning in the Lower Rio Grande Valley Region of South Texas.


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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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