Investigating the Concentrations of Different Elements in Soil and Plant Composition from a Mining Area
Joshua O. Olowoyo1, Anthony I. Odiwe2, Nquobile M. Mkolo1, Linda Macheka1
More details
Hide details
1Department of Biology, University of Limpopo, P.O.Box 139, Medunsa, Pretoria, South Africa
2Department of Botany, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria
Pol. J. Environ. Stud. 2013;22(4):1135–1141
Contamination of soils around mines by heavy metals has not yet received the serious attention that it deserves in South Africa. The current study evaluated the concentrations and levels of pollution by trace metals in soils around a Ferro-chromium mine in South Africa. Soil samples were collected from 20 locations in four different directions, namely southwest, southeast, northwest, and northeast of the mine. The soils were analyzed for trace metals concentrations using ICP-MS. The result revealed that soil pH was in the acidic medium with a very low level of soil organic matter. The concentrations of elements from the soil followed the order Al > Fe > Ca > Mg > Cr > Na > Mn > Ni > Zn > V > Cu > Pb > As > Cd. Higher concentrations for all the elements were recorded from the topsoil and also from the southwestern direction, and the differences in the concentrations were significant (p> 0.05). A highly significant positive correlation of Fe and Cr with Ni and with each other (0.42 ≤ r ≥ 0.82) were recorded. The Pi (pollution index) and I-geo (geoaccumulation index) indicated that the soils around the mine were severely contaminated with Cr and Ni. The concentrations of Fe, Cr, and Ni from the soil samples were high enough to cause serious health problems for people living in the area.