Main content area

Biomonitoring levels of airborne metals around Urmia Lake using deciduous trees and evaluation of their tolerance for greenbelt development

Mohammadi, Amir, Mokhtari, Mehdi, Arani, Asghar Mosleh, Taghipour, Hassan, Hajizadeh, Yaghoub, Fallahzadeh, Hossein
Environmental science and pollution research international 2018 v.25 no.21 pp. 21138-21148
Juglans regia, Ulmus, United States Environmental Protection Agency, Vitis vinifera, aerosols, air pollutants, air pollution, arsenic, cadmium, copper, drying, dust, environmental monitoring, gardens, heavy metals, humans, indicator species, lakes, lead, leaves, nickel, risk, sodium, toxic substances, toxicity, traffic, trees, zinc, Iran
In the northwest of Iran, the dust of salty and toxic metals possibly caused due to drying Urmia Lake is threatening the health of surrounding communities. This study aimed to employ leaves of local deciduous trees for biomonitoring of toxic elements and to evaluate air pollution tolerance of the trees for greenbelt application. Sampling from leaves of four dominant tree species including Vitis vinifera, Juglans regia, Ulmus umbraculifera, and Popolus alba was carried out from gardens in two radial distances (5 and 10 km) around the Urmia Lake accounting for 16 sites. The concentration of metals in the leaves were extracted according to method USEPA method 3050B and measured by ICP AES technique. According to the levels of air pollution tolerance index (APTI), Popolus alba showed to be more sensitive to air pollution and can be applied for biomonitoring. The ranks of heavy metals and sodium concentrations in the leaves gained in the order of Na > Zn > Cu > Ni > Pb > As > Cd. The mean enrichment factor for the elements was calculated from 1 to 3, suggesting minor enrichment for them. As, Pb, and Na with similar spatial distribution were dominantly observed in northwest and center-east of the Urmia Lake. Potential ecological risk (PER) index showed a moderate risk in 6% of sampling zones, where Cd and As were identified as responsible pollutants. Principle component and correlation analysis between the elements depicted human sources such as industrial activity and road traffic for Cd, Cu, Ni, Pb, and Zn, whereas As and Na were most likely originated from the aerosols of Urmia Lake. Our findings showed that Popolus alba can be applied as a local biomonitor and Vitis vinifera with moderate tolerance can be used as a good air pollutant sink in greenbelt development around the drying Urmia Lake in the northwest of Iran.