A Comparative Study on Air Quality Measurement and Spatial Distribution of Pollutants in Pars Special Economic Energy Zone (PSEEZ)

Document Type : Original Research Paper


1 Department of Environment, Faculty of Engineering, Branch Bushehr, Islamic Azad University, Bushehr, Iran

2 Department of Environment, College of Environmental Engineering, Branch Bushehr, Islamic Azad University, Bushehr, Iran

3 Invited Professor, Department of Environment, Bushehr Branch, Islamic Azad University, Bushehr, Iran

4 Systems Environmental Health and Energy Research Center, The Persian Gulf Biomedical Sciences Research Institute, Bushehr University of Medical Sciences, Bushehr, Iran


Pars special economic energy zone (PSEEZ) in Iran is the second largest energy zone in the world with more than 60,000 operational and non-operational personnel. Considering the nature of the activities being done in PSEEZ, it is rational to expect that a wide range of hazardous materials be present in the air composition of this area. It is shown in this research that Benzene-Toluene-Ethylbenzene-Xylene (BTEX) are the most challenging in PSEEZ and benzene concentration violates the standards in all sampling points. The study area is divided into three subzones of gas refineries, petrochemical complexes and non-operational areas. In the gas refineries, benzene concentration is recorded to be 480 times higher than the standard for exposure limit. The concentration of benzene in petrochemical complexes is also about 160 times higher than the standard limit. Considering the vicinity of the petrochemical complexes the cumulative impacts of BTEX will also worsen the situation regarding BTEX cancer risk. In non-operational areas, benzene concentration reaches 40 times higher than the standard limit which is a serious health challenge. Comparing the data of BTEX distribution with AQI proves that AQI solely is not an appropriate index for assessing the air quality in PSEEZ and defining local indices for air quality assessment with taking hazardous chemicals such as BTEX into account. Moreover, some other pollutants such as heavy metals and H2S are detected in the air quality in significant amounts which raise the need to a reconsideration in location of unprotected non-operational personnel.


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