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Comparison of Soil Samples from Selected Anthropogenic Sites within Enugu Metropolis for Physicochemical Parameters and Heavy Metal Levels Determination

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Document pages: 14 pages

Abstract: This study compared the physicochemical parameters and heavy metal levels in soil samples from selected anthropogenic sites within Enugu metropolis, Enugu State, Nigeria using standard analytical methods. Soil samples at depths (0 - 20 cm) and (20 - 40 cm) were collected from waste dump sites, metal scrap dumps, fuel filling stations and auto-mechanic workshops and analyzed for physicochemical characteristics and heavy metal levels. Atomic absorption spectrophotometer was used for heavy metal determination while conventional analytical methods were employed for physicochemical parameters evaluation of the soil samples. At soil depths 0 - 20 cm and 20 - 40 cm the respective mean range of pH, electrical conductivity, organic matter and organic carbon contents in the soil samples were, 6.33 - 6.74, 101.46 - 123.21 μS cm, 6.41 - 8.35 and 13.73 - 16.14 for auto-mechanic workshops; 6.92 - 7.43, 56.46 - 60.02 μS cm, 1.53 - 2.20 and 11.93 - 12.60 for fuel filling stations; 7.14 - 7.84, 70.81 - 77.71 μS cm, 3.81 - 4.12 and 8.57 - 9.24 for metal scrap dumps; 6.54 - 6.81, 94.40 - 100.71 μS cm, 8.83 - 10.75 and 18.26 - 20.81 for waste dump sites. The pH of the top soil samples from auto-mechanical workshop was below the WHO recommended limits for agricultural purposes. The physic-chemical characteristics of the soil samples decreased with soil depths indicating therefore that anthropogenic activities greatly influence the soil characteristics at the top soils than the sub-soils. The electrical conductivity values of top and sub-soil samples from the studied auto-mechanical workshops were above the recommended limits. At soil depths 0 - 20 cm and 20 - 40 cm, the respective mean range of Zn, Pb and Cd in the soil samples were 17.29 - 19.16 μg g, 0.704 - 0.96 μg g and 0.26 - 0.33 μg g for auto-mechanic workshops; 4.13 - 4.88 μg g, 0.21 - 0.32 μg g and 0.03 - 0.11 μg g for fuel filling stations; 30.02 - 36.11 μg g, 0.43 - 0.48 μg g and 0.15 - 0.19 μg g for metal scrap dumps; 9.30 - 10.84 μg g, 0.53 - 0.60 μg g and 0.38 - 0.45 μg g for waste dump sites. The mean levels of Pb in soil samples from mechanic workshops and waste dump sites were above the recommended permissible limits for agricultural purposes. The study therefore indicated that these sites (auto-mechanic workshops and waste dump sites) could be major sources of Pb pollution to nearby farmlands, streams and the general environment. Plants grown on or around these sites may not produce high yields and could be severely contaminated with heavy metals which portend health danger to food consumers within the environment.

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