A Comprehensive Comparison of Air Pollution in Main Cities in Sri Lanka

D.N.S. Attanayake, R.A.B. Abeygunawardana


Industrialization, increasing population and the vast usage of vehicles have been deterioratedthe quality of air in developing countries. Sri Lanka is one such developing country facing theproblem in quality of the air severely. Since Colombo is the commercial capital of Sri Lankait is a foremost victim of environmental pollution and many researches have been conductedto control the air pollution in Colombo. However when concerning the quality of air,attention should be paid on the other cities as well, which are more populated andindustrialized, since air pollution is a silent hazard that may even cause death to humanbeings. Main objectives of this research are to analyse the air quality data and to compare andcontrast the pollutant levels, at the four different locations Colombo, Kandy, Maharagamaand Kurunegala. Data were collected by a leading environment organization, Cleanco LankaLimited and published in “Ada” news paper. Concentrations measured in mg/m3 for the fivecriterion air pollutants; Carbon Monoxide (CO), Sulfur Dioxide (SO2), Nitrogen Dioxide(NO2), Ozone (O3) and Particulate Matter (PM 10) were gathered during the time period 1.00p.m. to 4.00 p.m. The period October 2010 to April 2013 was considered for this study. Dataare analysed using descriptive statistical techniques including summary measurements,graphical representations and correlation analysis. Furthermore, univariate statistical controlcharts are drawn to assess the quality of air of the selected cities. The data reveals that theconcentrations of CO and NO2 are high at Colombo and the concentrations of the fivepollutants are comparatively large at Maharagama on average, indicating that the other citiesmay also highly polluted as the commercial capital of Sri Lanka. However, the concentrationsof the air pollutants are decreasing after February, 2011 whilst the PM 10 concentrationshows erratic movements around the maximum permissible level of 0.5 mg/m3. It should beaffirmed that the CO concentration has not exceeded the maximum permissible level duringthe past two years. Moreover, the relationships between primary and secondary air pollutantssuch as O3 with CO and NO2 can be examined through the correlation structure of the data.



Air pollution, Air pollutants, Ambient air quality index

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.31357/fesympo.v18i0.1905

DOI (PDF): https://doi.org/10.31357/fesympo.v18i0.1905.g1009


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Proceedings of International Forestry and Environment Symposium, Sri Lanka. Published by Department of Forestry and Environmental Science, University of Sri Jayewardenepura