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Open AccessArticle

Geochemical Assessment and Spatial Analysis of Heavy Metals in the Surface Sediments in the Eastern Beibu Gulf: A Reflection on the Industrial Development of the South China Coast

by 1,2, 3,4, 4,5, 4, 2,4, 6, 4 and 4,6,*
1
Guangdong Province Key Laboratory for Coastal Ocean Variation and Disaster Prediction, Guangdong Ocean University, Zhanjiang 524088, China
2
College of Ocean and Meteorology, Guangdong Ocean University, Zhanjiang 524088, China
3
Third Institution of Oceanography, State Oceanic Administration, Xiamen 361005, China
4
College of Ocean and Earth Sciences, Xiamen University, Xiamen 361102, China
5
Marine Environment and Fishery Monitoring Station of Quanzhou, Quanzhou 362000, China
6
Coastal and Ocean Management Institute, Xiamen University, Xiamen 361102, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(3), 496; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15030496
Received: 10 February 2018 / Revised: 10 March 2018 / Accepted: 10 March 2018 / Published: 12 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Collection Environmental Risk Assessment)
The Beibu Gulf (also named the Gulf of Tonkin), located in the northwest of the South China Sea, is representative of a bay suffering from turbulence and contamination associated with rapid industrialization and urbanization. In this study, we aim to provide the novel baseline levels of heavy metals for the research area. Concentrations of five heavy metals (i.e., Cu, Pb, Zn, Cd and Cr) were determined in surface sediments from 35 sites in the eastern Beibu Gulf. The heavy metal content varied from 6.72 to 25.95 mg/kg for Cu, 16.99 to 57.98 mg/kg for Pb, 73.15 to 112.25 mg/kg for Zn, 0.03 to 0.12 mg/kg for Cd, and 20.69 to 56.47 mg/kg for Cr, respectively. With respect to the Chinese sediment quality criteria, sediments in the eastern Beibu Gulf have not been significantly affected by coastal metal pollutions. The results deduced from the geoaccumulation index (Igeo) showed that the study area has been slightly polluted by Pb, which might be caused by non-point sources. Relatively high concentrations of Cu, Pb and Cd were found around the coastal areas of Guangxi province, the Leizhou Peninsula and the northwest coast of Hainan Island, whereas the highest concentrations of Zn and Cr were found on the northwest coast of Hainan Island. Spatial distribution patterns of the heavy metals showed that bioavailable fractions of Pb were higher than in the residual fractions, while Cu and Cd concentrations in exchangeable and carbonate fractions were relatively higher than those in the bioavailable fractions. Hierarchical clustering analysis suggested that the sampling stations could be separated into three groups with different geographical distributions. Accompanying their similar spatial distribution in the study area, significant correlation coefficients among Cu, Cd and Pb were also found, indicating that these three metals might have had similar sources. Overall, the results indicated that the distribution of these heavy metals in the surface sediments collected from the Beibu Gulf was complex. View Full-Text
Keywords: heavy metals; assessment; distribution; surface sediments; eastern Beibu Gulf heavy metals; assessment; distribution; surface sediments; eastern Beibu Gulf
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Chen, F.; Lin, J.; Qian, B.; Wu, Z.; Huang, P.; Chen, K.; Li, T.; Cai, M. Geochemical Assessment and Spatial Analysis of Heavy Metals in the Surface Sediments in the Eastern Beibu Gulf: A Reflection on the Industrial Development of the South China Coast. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 496.

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