CFC-11 measurements in China, Nepal, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and South Korea (1998-2018): Urban, landfill fire and garbage burning sources

Isobel J. Simpson, Barbara Barletta, Simone Meinardi, Omar Siraj Aburizaiza, Peter F. Decarlo, Muhammad Akhyar Farrukh, Haider Khwaja, Jinseok Kim, Younha Kim, Arnico Panday, Azhar Siddique, Elizabeth A. Stone, Tao Wang, Jung Hun Woo, Likun Xue, Robert J. Yokelson, Jahan Zeb, Donald R. Blake

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Abstract: Trichlorofluoromethane (CFC-11) is an ozone-depleting substance whose production and consumption are regulated under the Montreal Protocol. Global atmospheric CFC-11 levels declined less quickly than expected during 2012-2018, largely because of ongoing emissions from eastern Asia. Satellite measurements suggest additional CFC-11 hotspots in the Arabian Peninsula and north India/Nepal. Here we present CFC-11 levels measured in dozens of Asian cities during 1998-2018, including China and Pakistan before the 2010 phaseout of CFC-11, and China, Nepal, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and South Korea after the phaseout. Surface measurements of CFCs in Nepal, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are very rare, and these surveys provide important observational constraints from understudied regions. During pre-phaseout campaigns, higher CFC-11 levels were measured in Beijing than Karachi, despite much higher overall volatile organic compound (VOC) levels in Karachi. During post-phaseout campaigns, average CFC-11 levels were higher in inland Shandong Province and Seoul (1.11-1.23× background) than in western Saudi Arabia, Lahore and Kathmandu (1.02-1.11× background), despite higher levels of other VOCs in the latter regions. While China is known to emit excess CFC-11, elevated CFC-11 levels in Seoul, especially during stagnant meteorological conditions, suggest local emissions in 2015-2016. Rough emission estimates suggest that South Korea is likely a relatively minor global source of excess CFC-11. Hotspot CFC-11 levels were measured from a landfill fire in Mecca (average of 1.8× background) and from garbage burning in Nepal (1.5× background). Because garbage burning and open burning in dumps are common practices, further investigation of CFC-11 emissions at dumps and landfills worldwide is encouraged to determine their global impact.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)370-392
Number of pages23
JournalEnvironmental Chemistry
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 2022


  • Asia
  • CFC-11
  • Montreal Protocol
  • chlorofluorocarbons
  • emissions
  • garbage burning
  • landfill fire
  • ozone depletion
  • surface measurements


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