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Title: Pollution assessment of heavy metals along the Mekong River and dam effects
Authors: Fu, K.
Su, B.
He, D.
Lu, X. 
Song, J.
Huang, J.
Keywords: geoaccumulation index
heavy metal pollution
Mekong River basin
potential ecological risk index
Issue Date: Jul-2012
Citation: Fu, K., Su, B., He, D., Lu, X., Song, J., Huang, J. (2012-07). Pollution assessment of heavy metals along the Mekong River and dam effects. Journal of Geographical Sciences 22 (5) : 874-884. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: The resource development and changes of hydrological regime, sediment and water quality in the Mekong River basin have attracted great attentions. This research aimed to enhance the study on transboundary pollution of heavy metals in this international river. In this study, eight sampling sites were selected to collect the bed sand samples along the mainstream of the Mekong River. In addition, the contents of 5 heavy metal elements and their spatial variability along the mainstream of the river were analyzed. The geoaccumulation index (I geo) and potential ecological risk analysis were employed to assess heavy metal pollution status in the mainstream of the Mekong River. The results show that the average content of the heavy metal elements Zn is 91. 43 mg/kg, Pb is 41. 85 mg/kg, and As is 21. 84 mg/kg in the bed sands of the Upper Mekong River, which are higher than those (Zn 68. 17 mg/kg, Pb 28. 22 mg/kg, As 14. 97 mg/kg) in the Lower Mekong. The average content of Cr in the Lower Mekong is 418. 86 mg/kg, higher than that in the Upper Mekong (42. 19 mg/kg). Luang Prabang has a very high Cr concentration with 762. 93 mg/kg and Pakse with 422. 90 mg/kg. The concentration of Cu in all of the 8 sampling sites is similar, except for in Jiajiu with 11. 70 mg/kg and Jiebei with 7. 00 mg/kg. The results of the geoaccumulation index reveal that contaminations caused by Zn and Pb while Pb and As are more than those by Zn in Upper Mekong. Cr is the primary pollutant in the Lower Mekong, especially at Luang Prabang and Pakse. Slight pollution with As also occurs in Pakse. The potential ecological risk index indicates that the potential ecological risk of heavy metals in the mainstream of the Mekong River is low. We argue that the pollution of water quality and contamination of heavy metals in bed sediment caused by mining of mineral resources or geochemical background values in the Mekong is not transmitted from the Upper to the Lower Mekong because of the reservoir sedimentation and dilution along the river. © 2012 Science Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.
Source Title: Journal of Geographical Sciences
ISSN: 1009637X
DOI: 10.1007/s11442-012-0969-3
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