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Assessment of Heavy Metals Contamination in Agricultural Soil of Southwestern Nile Delta, Egypt

Khalifa, Moataz, Gad, Ahmed
Soil & sediment contamination 2018 v.27 no.7 pp. 619-642
agricultural soils, anthropogenic activities, chromium, clay, copper, environmental assessment, geographic information systems, health effects assessments, heavy metals, human health, humans, iron, lead, manganese, nickel, organic matter, pollution load, remote sensing, risk, risk assessment, river deltas, soil properties, soil sampling, spatial distribution, spectroscopy, suburban areas, urbanization, zinc, Egypt
The spatial and vertical distributions of heavy metals were quantitatively determined for organic-rich agricultural soils in the Southwestern Nile Delta. This study aims to undertake an assessment of heavy metals contamination in the soils of Quessna district using the inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectroscopy, remote sensing, and geographic information system techniques. In this study, 24 soil samples were collected at 12 sites representing the main suburbs in the Quessna district. The concentrations of the studied metals decreased in the order of Zn > Cr > Pb > Cu > Ni > Co. The contamination degree and ecological risk assessment for metals in soil samples were evaluated using the enrichment factor, geoaccumulation index, improved Nemerow's pollution index, Pollution load index, and potential ecological risk index. The spatial and vertical distribution of heavy metals concentrations were affected by soil properties such as clay and organic matter content and scavenger metals (Fe and Mn). The intensive urbanization, industrial activity, and agricultural practices are thought to be the main anthropogenic sources of heavy metals contamination. Further studies especially human health risk assessment are recommended to investigate possible risks for humans from heavy metals in this area.