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Determination of Lead, Chromium And Zinc In Sediments From An Urbanized River In Mauritius

Author(s): Ramessur RT, Ramjeawon T

Abstract

Abstract

The mean concentration of Cr (105 +/- 30 mg kg(-1)), Zn (167 +/- 30 mg kg(-1)) and Pb (14 +/- 7 mg kg(-1)) in the sediments along St. Louis River situated in an urbanized and industrialized area in Mauritius were well below the limits of 600, 2500 and 700 mg kg(-1) quoted for contaminated sediments adopted from the draft standards (24% clay and 10% organic matter by weight) from the Netherlands [Van Veen RJ, Stortelder PBM. Research on contaminated sediments in the Netherlands. In: Wolf K, Van de Brink WJ, Colon FJ, editors. Contaminated soil. Academic Publisher, 1998. p. 1263-1275.]. Industrial contamination appeared to undergo rapid dilution in the estuary as Cr had high levels near point sources from industries, but decreased rapidly in amount in the estuary possibly because of dilution by other sediments. The significant levels of Zn in sediments from upstream to the estuary suggest that the potential sources could be from the adjacent motorway and road runoff causing significant quantities to be trapped within the St. Louis River. Pb was two folds higher in the sediments in the estuary of St. Louis River compared to upstream and downstream indicating accumulation of Pb in estuarine sediments, which could be released continuously into the lagoon. The potential sources of Pb in sediments from upstream to the estuary were from the adjacent motorway and road runoff causing significant quantities to be trapped within the St. Louis River. Pb and Zn were significantly positively correlated in the sediments along St. Louis River indicating a common source for Pb and Zn. Significant negative correlations were also found for both Pb and Zn with dissolved oxygen in summer along St. Louis River which indicated that the presence of anoxic waters influenced the trapping of Zn and Pb in the sediment phase. This study has also highlighted that a phasedown of Pb in petrol is necessary and with the introduction of unleaded petrol and vehicles equipped with catalytic converters, studies on levels of Pd and Pt to provide baseline data need to be done in the near future and integrated in environmental development schemes and effective coastal zone management of small island states.

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