The spatial and temporal distribution of heavy metals in sediments of Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong

Chloe Wing yee Tang, Carman Ching man Ip, Gan Zhang, Paul K S Shin, Pei yuan Qian, Xiangdong Li

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Victoria Harbour has received substantial loadings of pollutants from industrial and municipal wastewater discharged since the 1950s. Inputs of contaminants have declined dramatically during the last two decades as a result of better controls at the source and improved wastewater treatment facilities. To assess the spatial and temporal changes of metal contaminants in sediments in Victoria Harbour, core and grab sediments were collected. The central harbour areas were generally contaminated with heavy metals. The spatial distribution of trace metals can probably be attributed to the proximity of major urban and industrial discharge points, and to the effect of tidal flushing in the harbour. In the sediment cores, the highest concentrations of trace metals were observed to have accumulated during the 1950s-1980s, corresponding with the period of rapid urban and industrial development in Hong Kong. From the late 1980s, there has been a major decline in the concentrations of trace metals, due to a reduction in industrial activities and to the enactment of wastewater pollution controls in the territory. The Pb isotopic compositions of the sediments revealed the anthropogenic inputs of Pb to the harbour. The 206Pb/207Pb ratios varied from 1.154 to 1.190, which were lower than those of background geological materials in Hong Kong (206Pb/207Pb: 1.201-1.279). The data also indicated that the Pb in the harbour sediments most likely originated from mixed sources, including the leaded gasoline used in the past and other anthropogenic sources.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)816-825
Number of pages10
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Volume57
Issue number6-12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Mar 2008

Keywords

  • Historical sources
  • Hong Kong
  • Pb isotopes
  • Sediment
  • Trace metals
  • Victoria Harbour

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Oceanography
  • Pollution

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