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Renewable Energy and Non Renewable Energy

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Metal contamination in urban, suburban, and country park soils of Hong Kong: a study based on GIS and multivariate statistics

Author(s): Lee CS, Li X, Shi W, Cheung SC, Thornton I



The urban environment quality is of vital importance as the majority of people now live in cities. Due to the continuous urbanisation and industrialisation in many parts of the world, metals are continuously emitted into the terrestrial environment and pose a great threat on human health. An extensive survey was conducted in the highly urbanised and commercialised Hong Kong Island area (80.3 km2) of Hong Kong using a systematic sampling strategy of five soil samples per km2 in urban areas and two samples per km2 in the suburban and country park sites (0-15 cm). The analytical results indicated that the surface soils in urban and suburban areas are enriched with metals, such as Cu, Pb, and Zn. The Pb concentration in the urban soils was found to exceed the Dutch target value. The statistical analyses using principal component analysis (PCA) and cluster analysis (CA) showed distinctly different associations among trace metals and the major elements (Al, Ca, Fe, Mg, Mn) in the urban, suburban, and country park soils. Soil pollution maps of trace metals (Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb, and Zn) in the surface soils were produced based on geographical information system (GIS) technology. The hot-spot areas of metal contamination were mainly concentrated in the northern and western parts of Hong Kong Island, and closely related to high traffic conditions. The Pb isotopic composition of the urban, suburban, and country park soils showed that vehicular emissions were the major anthropogenic sources for Pb. The 206Pb/207Pb and 208Pb/207Pb ratios in soils decreased as Pb concentrations increased in a polynomial line (degree=2).

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