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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Atmospheric Pollutants and Trace Gases

Air Pollution by Concrete Dust from the Great Hanshin Earthquake


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 31 No. 3, p. 718-723
    Received: May 22, 2000

    * Corresponding author(s): gotoh@kobe-u.ac.jp
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  1. Takao Gotoh *a,
  2. Takashi Nishimurab,
  3. Minoru Nakatab,
  4. Yuzuru Nakaguchib and
  5. Keizo Hirakib
  1. a Faculty of Engineering, Kobe Univ., Kobe, Japan
    b Institution for Social Medicine, Yodogawa Workers' Welfare Association, Osaka, Japan


Air pollution in the areas affected by the Great Hanshin Earthquake (Hyogo, Japan) of 17 Jan. 1995 was quite serious. We performed three investigations of dust. In the first investigation, we measured the total suspended particulate (TSP) concentration in the greatly damaged areas, located around the Sannomiya Station where a few hundred thousand people walked by during the daytime of 3 February. The maximum concentration at five points reached 150 μg/m3 In the second investigation, eight samples, which were classified into three groups (concrete, mortar, and soil dusts) as sources, were analyzed elementally by X-ray fluorescence. The elements found in concrete dust (Ca and S) were similar to those found in mortar dust. These differed from those found in soil dust (Ti, Fe, and Zr). The elements found in soil dust were important from the viewpoint of heavy metal contamination. In the third investigation, the alkalinity of concrete dust was observed by dissolution. This solution was equivalent to pH 11 to 12 and electrical conductivity 20 to 30 μS/m. We suspect that the alkaline component in the dust from debris in all the devastated areas was approximately comparable with the alkaline solution by which the acid rain falling over the Hanshin district of Osaka Megalopolis in one year could be neutralized into water of pH 7.0.

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Copyright © 2002. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyPublished in J. Environ. Qual.31:718–723.