Main content area

Distribution characteristics and health risk assessment of heavy metals and PAHs in the soils of green spaces in Shanghai, China

Liang, Jing, Wu, Hai B., Wang, Xing X.
Environmental monitoring and assessment 2019 v.191 no.6 pp. 345
arsenic, cadmium, cities, copper, emissions, environmental quality, green infrastructure, guidelines, health effects assessments, heavy metals, industry, lead, mental health, monitoring, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, risk, soil depth, soil sampling, traffic, urban areas, zinc, China
The environmental sustainability of megacities is a global problem, and megacities are experiencing increasing pressure and challenges with regard to providing a suitable living environment for people. Urban green space plays a crucial role in protecting urban ecological environments and in maintaining the physical and mental health of residents. In this study, a total of 94 soil samples from green spaces in Shanghai, including park green spaces and road green spaces in the eight central urban districts, were collected, and the contents of heavy metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were analyzed to determine the distribution characteristics and influencing factors and to assess the associated health risks. The accumulation of heavy metals was greater in park green space soils than in road green space soils, although the variation coefficient of the former was lower than that of the latter. Conversely, the accumulation of PAHs was lower in park green space soils than that in road green space soils, although the variation coefficient of the former was higher than that of the latter. In particular, Cu, Zn, Pb, Cd, As, and PAHs have accumulated in Shanghai green space soils. With increasing soil depth (0–2 cm, 2–5 cm, 5–10 cm, and 10–30 cm), the PAH content increased in the park green space soils but decreased in the road green space soils. According to the “Technical guidelines for risk assessment of contaminated sites (MEP of China 2014),” the overall health risk posed by green space soils in urban areas in Shanghai can be considered safe, except at individual sampling sites. The PAH, Cu, and Zn contents of park green space soils might be related to the application of organic materials and to traffic and industry emissions. However, the soil pollutants in road green spaces are predominantly related to traffic and industrial emissions. Therefore, the monitoring and management of soil environmental quality must be strengthened.