Heavy metals pollution in the soils of suburban areas in big cities: a case study|
Taghipour, H.; Mosaferi, M.; Armanfar, F. & Gaemmagami, S.J.
Soil pollution in agricultural areas surrounding big cities is a major environmental problem. Tabriz is the largest city in the northwest of Iran and the fourth largest city in the country. Soil samples were taken from 46 sites in the suburbs of the Tabriz city, and separate samples were taken from control site and analyzed. The results indicated that the mean pH value of the soil samples was 9.29, while the mean EC value was 354.33 μs/cm and the amount of TOC and TOM was 0.99 and 1.7 %, respectively. The mean concentrations of Cd, Pb, Cu, Cr, Ni, and Zn in the soil were determined to be 1.61, 10.56, 101.25, 87.40, 38.73, and 98.27 mg/kg, respectively (dry weight). The concentrations of heavy metals (Cd, Pb, Cu, Cr, and Zn), with the exception of Ni, were higher than the concentrations of the same heavy metals at the control site. Despite these elevated concentrations, the concentrations of heavy metals were lower than the toxicity threshold limit of agricultural soils. The values of the pollution index revealed that the metal pollution level was Pb > Cr > Cu > Zn > Cd > Ni, and the mean value of the integrated pollution index was determined to be 1.81, indicating moderate pollution. Nevertheless, there were some sites that were severely polluted by Cr (maximum values of 1,364 mg/kg). It was concluded that city probably has affected the surrounding agricultural area. Application of wastewater (municipal and industrial) as irrigation water, using of sludge as soil fertilizer, and atmospheric perceptions have been considered as main reasons of increased heavy metals concentrations found in the studied area.
Agricultural area; Assessment; Heavy metals; Soil