Perceived air quality and particulate matter pollution based on field survey data during a winter period
Nikolopoulos, Georgios K.
SourceInternational Journal of Biometeorology
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Outdoor air pollution and especially particulate matter pollution is a major environmental health issue that raises concerns of scientists and policy makers. This study focuses on air quality perception in relation to particulate matter in order to find potential patterns. Field questionnaire-based surveys were conducted among pedestrians on two central sites in the city of Athens, Greece, during the winter period while particulate matter of 10 μm or less in diameter (PM10) were concurrently measured on-site at 1-min resolution. The participants were asked to evaluate the dust and the overall pollution-related air quality based on 5-point bipolar scales. Air quality perception patterns were explored considering PM10 concentration, meteorological and thermal conditions, and subjective variables including gender, age, smoking status, and health status. An effect of PM10 on dust perception was identified, suggesting that dusty air quality conditions are reported more frequently when particulate concentration increases. Health status, exposure time, smoking status, and gender were found to affect air quality perception. Participants experiencing health symptoms, exposed to outdoor conditions for more than 30 min, smokers, and females were more likely to report unfavorable air quality conditions. The comparison with the results of a previous study obtained using air pollution station data confirmed the dependence of air quality perception on participants' characteristics and particularly on their health status. Ordinal logistic regression models showed that for pedestrians who were neither smokers nor experiencing health symptoms and were exposed to outdoor conditions for more than 30 min, a PM10 concentration around 64 μg·m-3 could be a threshold, to perceive dusty air quality conditions.