Concentration profiles of metal contaminants in fluvial sediments of a rural-urban drainage basin in Tanzania
Faculty of Sciences. Chemistry
New York, N.Y.
International journal of environmental analytical chemistry. - New York, N.Y.
, p. 77-98
University of Antwerp
This study investigated concentration profiles of trace, rare earth and platinum group metals in fluvial sediments from the Pangani river basin (43,650 km2), one of the largest river basins in Tanzania, to assess its environmental quality. Sediment samples were collected in two distinct seasons from 12 representative sites of diverse land-use practices and characterised by ICP-MS after optimised microwave digestion. Ecological risks were assessed by evaluation of pollution index and comparison with legislated sediment quality guidelines (SQG). The results revealed contamination by some trace metals (e.g. Pb, V, Cu, Cr, Ni, Cd, As, Co, Mn and Zn) in concentrations ranging from 0.7 to 2940 mg kg−1, and four rare earth elements (Y, Ce, Nd, Yb) in concentrations ranging from 0.9 (Yb) to 500 mg kg−1 dry weight (Ce), which significantly exceeded the estimated background values at some stations. Palladium was the only platinum group element that was detected in quantifiable concentrations (0.33.5 mg kg−1). Concentrations of some trace metals exceeded the SQGs at some localised areas. Principal component analysis and multivariate correlations indicated geochemical characteristics of the area as the major control of metal concentrations and spatial variability. Organic matter and clay contents also played a significant role in metal distributions. Assessment of land-use practices upstream of the sampling locations was used to trace potential anthropogenic sources of metal enrichments, where highest levels were found in areas close to urban centres and agricultural activities. The study provides baseline data for future monitoring programs, and highlights the need for more comprehensive analysis involving a wider spatio-temporal scale and ecotoxicological risk assessment.