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Open AccessArticle

Estimating Environmental Contamination and Element Deposition at an Urban Area of Central Italy

1
Department of Life Sciences, University of Siena, 53100 Siena, Italy
2
via Porta San Marco 196, 51100 Pistoia, Italy
3
Department of Biology, University of Pisa, 56126 Pisa, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Urban Sci. 2019, 3(3), 76; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci3030076
Received: 25 June 2019 / Revised: 15 July 2019 / Accepted: 17 July 2019 / Published: 23 July 2019
Air quality monitoring in many urban areas is based on sophisticated and costly equipment to check for the respect of environmental quality standards, but capillary monitoring is often not feasible due to economic constraints. In such cases, the use of living organisms may be very useful to complement the sparse data obtained by physico-chemical measurements. In this study, the bioaccumulation of selected trace elements (Al, As, Cd, Ce, Cr, Cu, Fe, Ni, Pb, S, Sb, Zn) in lichen samples (Evernia prunastri) transplanted for three months at an urban area of Central Italy was investigated to assess the main environmental contaminants, their sources, and the fluxes of element depositions. The results pinpointed Cu and Sb as the main contaminants and suggested a common origin for these two elements from non-exhaust sources of vehicular traffic, such as brake abrasion. Most study sites were, however, found to be subjected to low or moderate environmental contamination, and the lowest contamination corresponded to the main green areas, confirming the important protective role of urban forests against air pollution. Ranges of estimated mean annual element deposition rates in the study area were similar or lower than those reported for other urban areas. View Full-Text
Keywords: air pollution; air quality; bioaccumulation; biomonitoring; heavy metals air pollution; air quality; bioaccumulation; biomonitoring; heavy metals
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Loppi, S.; Corsini, A.; Paoli, L. Estimating Environmental Contamination and Element Deposition at an Urban Area of Central Italy. Urban Sci. 2019, 3, 76.

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