Heavy Metal Pollution Levels in Soil and Plants Near a Large Dumpsite

Jenn Hoskins
8th June, 2024

Heavy Metal Pollution Levels in Soil and Plants Near a Large Dumpsite

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • The study at the Gosa dumpsite in Nigeria found significant heavy metal contamination in the soil
  • Heavy metals like Cr and Ni were found in high concentrations, indicating heavy pollution from human activities
  • Certain plants, such as okra, water hyacinth, and Amaranthus hybridus, showed strong potential for cleaning up these contaminants through phytoremediation
Heavy metal contamination in soil is a pressing environmental issue, particularly in regions with extensive waste disposal activities. A recent study conducted by the National Open University of Nigeria evaluated heavy metal contamination and the phytoremediation potential of plants cultivated around the Gosa dumpsite[1]. This study provides insights into the extent of soil pollution and the capabilities of certain plants to mitigate heavy metal contamination. The researchers used an atomic absorption spectrophotometer (Agilent 280FS AA) to measure the concentrations of various heavy metals in soil and plant samples. They found that the mean heavy metal contents in the upper and lower soil layers ranged from 0.37 to 1662.61 mg/kg and 0.32 to 1608.61 mg/kg, respectively. The heavy metals were present in the following ascending order: Cd < Cr < Cu < Ni < Pb < Co < Zn < Fe. A notable finding was the steady decrease in heavy metal contents from the upper to lower soil layers, indicating surface contamination. The study identified that Co, Pb, Zn, and Fe were introduced through both natural (geogenic) and human-made (anthropogenic) pathways, while Cr, Ni, Cu, and Cd were mainly from anthropogenic sources. The soil was moderately polluted with Co, Cu, Pb, Zn, Fe, and Cd but heavily polluted with Cr and Ni. Approximately 37.5% of the sites had pollution load indices greater than 1.0, indicating a gradual deterioration in soil quality. Similar findings have been observed in other regions. For instance, urban soils in 32 Indian cities were found to be heavily contaminated with Cr and Ni, particularly in southern, northern, and eastern states[2]. This contamination was primarily due to anthropogenic activities, similar to the Gosa dumpsite findings. Another study in Nigeria reported severe pollution with Pb, Cd, and Fe in soils near a battery waste dumpsite, with downstream areas showing the highest concentrations[3]. These studies collectively highlight the widespread issue of heavy metal contamination in soils across different regions. The Gosa dumpsite study also assessed the phytoremediation potential of five plant species. Phytoremediation is a process where plants are used to remove, transfer, stabilize, or destroy contaminants in soil and water. The transfer factor (TF) values indicated that okra plant 1, water hyacinth, and Amaranthus hybridus had excellent Cd phytoremediation potential. Additionally, okra plant 1 showed potential for Cu, water hyacinth for Fe, and Amaranthus hybridus for Pb remediation. This finding is significant as it suggests that certain plants can be effectively used to clean up contaminated soils. Previous studies have also highlighted the importance of phytoremediation. For example, a study near the Enugu State Waste Management Authority dumpsite found high levels of Fe and Pb in the soil, posing environmental and health hazards[4]. The use of phytoremediation in such areas could mitigate these risks. Similarly, another study in Uyo revealed that soils near a municipal solid waste dumpsite were highly polluted with Cd, contributing to 98-99% of the total ecological risk[5]. Phytoremediation could be a viable solution to reduce such risks. In conclusion, the study by the National Open University of Nigeria underscores the severe heavy metal contamination at the Gosa dumpsite and highlights the potential of certain plants for phytoremediation. Given the moderate to heavy pollution levels of various heavy metals, it is crucial for government authorities to monitor the site and implement appropriate remediation measures. The findings from this study, along with previous research, emphasize the need for effective strategies to manage soil contamination and protect environmental and public health.

EnvironmentEcologyPlant Science


Main Study

1) Heavy metal pollution indices in soil and plants within the vicinity of the Gosa Dumpsite in Abuja, Nigeria.

Published 7th June, 2024


Related Studies

2) Heavy metals pollution assessment and its associated human health risk evaluation of urban soils from Indian cities: a review.


3) Accumulation of Heavy Metals from Battery Waste in Topsoil, Surface Water, and Garden Grown Maize at Omilende Area, Olodo, Nigeria.


4) Spatiality, seasonality and ecological risks of heavy metals in the vicinity of a degenerate municipal central dumpsite in Enugu, Nigeria.


5) Ecological and human health risk assessment of heavy metal contamination in soil of a municipal solid waste dump in Uyo, Nigeria.


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