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Assessment of heavy metal pollution in surface soils of urban parks in Beijing, China

Author(s): Chen TB, Zheng YM, Lei M, Huang ZC, Wu HT, et al.



Assessing the concentration of potentially harmful heavy metals in the soil of urban parks is imperative in order to evaluate the potential risks to residents and tourists. To date, little research on soil pollution in China's urban parks has been conducted. To identify the concentrations and sources of heavy metals, and to assess the soil environmental quality, samples were collected from 30 urban parks located in the city of Beijing. Subsequently, the concentrations of Cu, Ni, Pb and Zn in the samples were analyzed. The investigation revealed that the accumulations of Cu and Pb were readily apparent in the soils. The integrated pollution index (IPI) of these four metals ranged from 0.97 to 9.21, with the highest IPI in the densely populated historic center district (HCD). Using multivariate statistic approaches (principal components analysis and hierarchical cluster analysis), two factors controlling the heavy metal variability were obtained, which accounted for nearly 80% of the total variance. Nickel and Zn levels were controlled by parent material in the soils, whereas Cu, Pb and, in part, Zn were accounted for mainly by anthropogenic activities. The findings presented here indicate that the location and the age of the park are important factors in determining the extent of heavy metal, particularly Cu and Pb, pollution. In addition, the accumulation of Zn did not appear to reach pollution levels, and no obvious pollution by Ni was observed in the soils of the parks in Beijing.

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Urban environmental geochemistry of trace metals

Author(s): Wong CS, Li X, Thornton I