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E-Journal of Chemistry
Volume 5, Issue 2, Pages 281-290
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2008/854103

Heavy Metal Contents of Municipal and Rural Dumpsite Soils and Rate of Accumulation by Carica papaya and Talinum triangulare in Uyo, Nigeria

G. A. Ebong, M. M. Akpan, and V. N. Mkpenie

Chemistry Department, Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology, University of Uyo, P. M. B 1017, Uyo, Nigeria

Received 23 May 2007; Accepted 27 July 2007

Copyright © 2008 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Dumpsites in Uyo and most cities in Nigeria are used nutrients rich soils for cultivating fruits and vegetables without regards to the risk of toxic metal pollution by the wastes. This development necessitated the research on the assessment of the impact of municipal and rural dumpsites on the metal levels of the underlying soils, the relationship between the dumpsite- soil metal content and the rate of bio-accumulation by plants, the effect of plant specie and plant part on the rate of metal uptake. Atomic absorption spectrophotometer was employed for the analysis of the samples and results obtained from municipal dumpsite soil indicated the following mean concentrations: Fe, 1711.20 μg/g; Pb, 43.28 ug/g; Zn, 88.34 ug/g; Ni, 12.18 ug/g; Cd, 14.10 ug/g and Cu, 56.33 ug/g. These concentrations were relatively higher than the following concentrations: Fe, 1016.98 ug/g; Pb, 18.57 ug/g; Zn, 57.90 ug/g; Ni, 7.98 ug/g; Cd, 9.25 ug/g and Cu, 33.70 ug/g recorded for the rural dumpsite soil. Consequently, plants grown on municipal dumpsites soil accumulated higher concentrations of the metals than those on rural dumpsites. Results obtained from this study also revealed that plants grown on dumpsite soils bio-accumulated higher metal concentrations than their counterparts obtained from normal agricultural soils. The ability of plants to bioaccumulate these metals were also observed as being different from one plant to the other and from one plant parts to the other. And apart from Fe and Zn which recorded higher concentrations in the leaves of the plants studied, other metals recorded higher concentrations in the roots. The general results obtained revealed that the levels of Cd in dumpsite-soil were above the standard while the levels of Cd and Pb in plants were also above the recommended levels in plants. The implications of these high concentrations of these metals in soil and plants have been discussed. Some useful recommendations on the proper handling of wastes to reduce toxic metal loads at dumpsites have also been highlighted.