Jump to Main Content
An effective method for reconstructing the historical change in anthropogenic contribution to sedimentary organic matters in rivers
- Wang, Shanshan, Liu, Guijian, Zhang, Jiamei, Zhou, Li, Lam, Paul K.S.
- The Science of the total environment 2019 v.655 pp. 968-976
- alkanes, anthropogenic activities, aquatic environment, fuel combustion, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, industrial wastewater, isoprenoids, lead, local government, petroleum, pollution control, regression analysis, rivers, scientists, sediments, sewage, surface water, water quality
- Surface water quality has been greatly affected by anthropogenic activities around the world in the past decades. Scientists and policymakers should pay close attention to quantify historical change in human impacts on aquatic environment. An effective method for reconstructing the historical input of anthropogenic organic matters in aquatic environment is urgently required. Here, five sediment cores from the Huaihe River were analyzed for n-alkanes (C8–C40) and isoprenoid alkanes (pristane and phytane) using gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS). Sixty years (1955–2014) sedimentary history of n-alkanes was reconstructed using 210Pb method. The evaluation of wax n-alkanes percentage (WNA) indicated that the terrestrial higher plant input was predominant in most samples. The main anthropogenic sources were the petroleum hydrocarbon, fossil fuel combustion and the discharge of industrial wastewater and domestic sewage. The results of principal component analysis-multiple linear regression (PCA-MLR) indicated that the respective contributions of anthropogenic and biogenic sources to sedimentary organic matters were 47.8% and 48.1% in the Huaihe River. Furthermore, the anthropogenic contribution displayed a decrease trend from 1991 to 2014, which probably attributed to the effective pollution control measures taken by the local government. However, the anthropogenic contribution was still considerable during this period. Thus, the government should pay attention to organic pollution control in the Huaihe River sediments continuously. In summary, this study provides an effective method for reconstructing the historical change in anthropogenic contribution to sedimentary organic matters in rivers, which can probably be applied to other aquatic environment around the world.