Assessment of heavy metal release into the soil after mine clearing in Halgurd-Sakran National Park, Kurdistan, Iraq.
journal contributionposted on 20.02.2019, 15:35 by Rahel Hamad, Heiko Balzter, Kamal Kolo
The aim of this study was to assess the heavy metal pollution in soils after mine clearance and disposal through controlled explosions in dugout pits during demining operations at two hotspot areas, in the Halgurd-Sakran National Park (HSNP). This investigation was undertaken in order to reveal the concentration level, migration and enrichment in various heavy metals present in polluted soils. Eighteen samples, nine sampling positions at each site, were collected. The current study used inductively coupled plasma-emission spectroscopy (ICP-ES) methodology to determine the concentration levels of Cu, Pb, Zn, Ni, Co, Mn, As and Cr in the soil samples as important toxic contaminants resulting from the demining process. The results show concentration levels of 63.33, 16.22, 116.44, 328, 32.66, 1594.33, 7 and 291.55 ppm in site 1 for Cu, Pb, Zn, Ni, Co, Mn, As and Cr, respectively, while site 2 gave 72.55, 17, 102.55, 296.55, 32, 1851.88, 9.11 and 308.77 ppm. Soil enrichment factor (EF) in sites 1 and 2 of the heavy metals Ni, Cr, Mn, Co and Cu ranged from extremely high enrichment to moderate-high enrichment, respectively. The geo-accumulation (I-geo) index indicated contamination levels that ranged from very strongly to moderately contaminated soil for Ni, Cr, Mn, Co and Cu, respectively. On the other hand, the pollution load index (PLI) showed all values from all samples in both sites were above 1 indicating totally contaminated areas. However, the most polluting heavy metals in the soil at both sites are Ni and Cr with high contamination levels attributed to the controlled mines' detonations. In conclusion, these mines' detonations are producing residual heavy metals in the soil that are potentially harmful to the vegetation cover, animals and ultimately humans.