Determination of heavy metal contamination in the surface sediments at Sohar Industrial Port (SIP) and the nearby coastal regions
Al Sawai, Abdulaziz
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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An increase of heavy metals in the natural environment, as a result of human development activities, may lead to further impacts on environment and human health. The project aim was to investigate the potential impact of heavy metal sources on the marine sediment at Sohar Industrial Port (SIP) and nearby coastal regions. SIP was established in 1999 and this is the first comprehensive evaluation of heavy metal pollution at the port. The research focused on the levels of Al, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Mo, Ni, Pb, V, Zn , Hg, As and Sn over a period of two years. The concentration of anions F, Br, Cl and SO4 in the sediment was also evaluated. The research has, based on published literature, evaluated the public and environmental issues at SIP and nearby regions area. A theoretical fingerprinting technique was used to establish sources of pollution in the SIP region using a combination of field data, laboratory analyses of samples and statistical modeling techniques. Results from the study indicate that concentration of heavy metals was significantly higher at the SIP than in the nearby coastal regions. The data indicated that Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb, Zn, Hg and As sediment concentrations exceeded levels for International Sediment Quality Guidelines (ISQG) values from USA, Canade, Holland, Australia and New Zealand . Heavy metals that exceed ISQG provide higher potential risks of contamination and may cause human health problems at the SIP and surrounding areas. Potential sources of pollution at SIP include petrochemical industries, various metal processing industries, cooling water outfalls, dust emissions from industries and open hazardous storage sites. Consideration needs to be given to the use of addition new technologies for cleaning of pollution in the environment around SIP. The project proposes development of policies and strategies to mitigate and prevent further sediment contamination at SIP and nearby regions.
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