Past Metal(loid) Pollution Records Inferred from the Sediments of Bukit Merah Reservoir Perak, Malaysia
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School of Biological Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 11800 Penang, Malaysia
Centre for Marine and Coastal Studies (CEMACS), Universiti Sains Malaysia, 11800 Penang, Malaysia
River Engineering and Urban Drainage Centre (REDAC), Universiti Sains Malaysia, Seri Ampangan, 14300 Nibong Tebal Penang, Malaysia
Environmental Technology Section, School of Industrial Technology Section, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 11800 Penang, Malaysia
Research Centre for Limnology, Indonesian Institute of Sciences, Cibinong 16911, Indonesia
School of Geography and Environmental Sciences, University of Southampton, University Road, Southampton, S017 IBJ
Submission date: 2022-07-19
Final revision date: 2022-10-24
Acceptance date: 2022-11-30
Online publication date: 2023-02-09
Publication date: 2023-03-14
Corresponding author
Wan Maznah Wan Omar   

Biological Sciences, , Universiti Sains Malaysia, Malaysia
Pol. J. Environ. Stud. 2023;32(2):1507-1518
Anthropogenic activities, especially due to agricultural practices, tourism, and other land-use forms, have resulted in serious pollution of Bukit Merah reservoir (BMR), the oldest artificial reservoir in Malaysia since the 1980s. This study assessed the past ecological conditions of the reservoir using 210Pb, dating techniques, selected metals, and physicochemical analysis of the sediment core to better manage the reservoir. 210Pb results indicated 34 years of human impact on the reservoir, with arsenic recording the least concentrations in the 1980s and the highest concentrations in 2016 and 2018. The minimum and maximum concentrations of lead and cadmium were found in 1990 and 2009. Whereas Copper and Zinc, concentrations peaked in 2012. The mean EF values of metals in the sediment core were above 1 (EF>1), indicating anthropogenic sources. The Igeo values of Arsenic and Cadmium ranged from uncontaminated to strongly contaminated, uncontaminated to moderately contaminated for Lead, Zinc, and Copper. Overall, the dated sediment of BMR revealed that human population growth and increasing economic and agricultural activities coupled with poor land-use forms at the catchment area are the main source of pollution to the reservoir. Therefore, regular monitoring and the enforcement of relevant environmental laws are needed to manage the reservoir.
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