An assessment of volatile organic compound pollution in relation to the petroleum industry in Suriname


  • Christiaan-Max Huisden Environmental Sciences Department, FTeW, Anton de Kom University of Suriname
  • Sharoma Kanhai
  • Donovan Bogor


petroleum industry, air pollutants, Suriname, photo-ionization, disease


A growing number of studies have shown a link between diseases and even low concentrations of unwanted chemicals in the atmosphere. Millions of people in developing countries die each year from exposure to air pollutants originating from industrial activities. The purpose of this study was, to measure the emission of volatile organic compounds (VOC) in an area with significant industrial activities and compare this with a not affected area. Emission from industrial activities, likely originating from the stack at the State oil refinery plant “Staatsolie”, in the Tout Lui Faut area in Suriname were measured using an Aeroqual AQM 65 meter with a photo-ionization detector for VOCs. Twenty-four sample locations were identified within 5km from the Staatsolie refinery smoke stack downstream of the ruling wind direction. Organic vapor monitors from Assay Technology were used to do a quantitative analysis on benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and 1,3-butadiene on the location with the highest concentration total volatile organic compounds (TVOC). The obtained results for TVOC ranged from 0.071 – 0.299 ppm, with a location at ±500 meters North West from the refinery smoke stack measuring the highest concentration. The substances benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and 1,3-butadiene were not detected on the organic vapor monitors. The sample locations located North West from the refinery smoke stack are being exposed to air pollutants, however, the results from this study suggest that the levels did not exceed international standards for individual volatile organic compounds.