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Determination of Heavy metals in Street Dust from Different Types of Land Use of Kathmandu Valley, Nepal

Author Affiliations

  • 1Faculty of Science, Padma Kanya Multiple Campus, Tribhuvan University, Bagbazar, Kathmandu, NEPAL
  • 2Central Department of Environmental Science, Tribhuvan University, Kirtipur, Kathmandu, NEPAL

Res.J.chem.sci., Volume 4, Issue (7), Pages 82-92, July,18 (2014)


A total of 45 street dust were sampled from five different types of land use viz., industrial, urban, heavy traffic road, residential and undisturbed areas of Kathmandu valley, Nepal. The samples were fractionated into seven different particle sizes (2000-710, 710-425, 425-150, 150-75, 75-53, 53-38 and <38 μm) and analyzed for Cd, Cu, Pb and Zn using Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer (AAS). The effect of particle sizes on metal distribution were also assessed using three contamination indices such as enrichment factor (EF), distribution factor (DF) and mass loading (%) for metals. Results revealed that the dust of industrial use was found to have the highest concentrations of Zn (135.1 mg kg-1) and Cu (98.9 mg kg-1) while the heavy traffic road use exhibited the highest concentrations of Cd (0.85 mg kg-1) and Pb (63.6 mg kg-1) in dust samples. The mean concentrations of all the land uses for Cd, Cu, Pb and Zn in bulk samples were 1.3, 62.3, 44.5 and 99.0 mg kg-1 respectively while the enrichment ratio for the metals in dust of Kathmandu valley were found to be 4.8, 7.3, 2.4 and 3.4 respectively. The concentration of all metals in different particle size fractions was found to be increased with decrease in their sizes indicating the preferential partitioning of metals in fine particle sizes. The enrichment factor revealed a slight to severe degree of enrichment for all the land uses and for all metals with few exceptions. The distribution factor indicated the preferential accumulation of metals in the finest particle fractions ( <38 μm). Similarly, the mass loading (%) for metals showed that the coarse particle size fractions (>75 µm) contributed more than 50% of all metals to the total concentration of bulk samples.


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