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Spatial Distribution of Heavy Metals in Soil and Plant in a Quarry Site in Southwestern Nigeria

Author Affiliations

  • 1Dept. of Environmental Management and Toxicology, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State, NIGERIA
  • 2 Institute of Ecology and Environmental Studies, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, NIGERIA
  • 3 Dept. of Environmental Management and Toxicology, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State, NIGERIA

Res.J.chem.sci., Volume 4, Issue (8), Pages 1-6, August,18 (2014)


The study assessed the concentration of heavy metals in soil and plants around a quarry site in Southwestern Nigeria. Sample plots were established in a systematic method along a line transect at increasing distance of 1, 50, 100, 150, 200, 250 and 300 m from the quarry processing plant. A composite soil sample was drawn from a depth of 0 – 15 cm. These were air dried, passed through a 2 mm sieve and properly labeled. Plant samples in each plot were identified and collected for laboratory analysis. Both soil and plant samples were then analysed for heavy metals (Cd, Zn, Cu, Pb, Ni, Cr, Co, Fe, Se Mn) using Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer (AAS). Four (4) soil samples were collected in each specified distance and 1 sample of soil and plants were collected 2 km away from the quarry site. Results showed that the concentrations of heavy metals from soil samples were decreasing with increasing distance from 1 to 300 m (Cd 0.21 – 0.04 mg/kg, Cr 0.23 – 0.03 mg/kg, Pb 0.25 – 0.03 mg/kg, Se 0.19 – 0.02 mg/kg, Ni 0.16 – 0.02 mg/kg, Co 0.13 – 0.02 mg/kg, Mn 7.82 – 5.40 mg/kg, Zn 5.01 – 2.82 mg/kg) with the exception of Fe and Cu, which decreased and increased randomly at various points. The study showed low concentrations of Cd 0.05 mg/kg, Cr 0.02 mg/kg, Pb 0.02 mg/kg, Se 0.01 mg/kg, Ni 0.01 mg/kg and Co 0.01 mg/kg in the plant tissue samples. The study concluded that quarrying activities elevated the soil heavy metal content up to the range of 300 m away from the quarrying site and the concentration of heavy metals in plant tissues around the quarry site were below the acceptable toxic level of heavy metals in plants. This can be attributed to the number of years quarry activities in the study area have been in operation.


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