COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE

Distribution of heavy metals in the dissolved and suspended phase of the sea-surface microlayer, seawater column and in sediments of Singapore's coastal environment

Dang The Cuong, Subramanian Karuppiah, Jeffrey Philip Obbard
Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 2008, 138 (1-3): 255-72
17562200
Concentrations of heavy metals were determined in the water column (including the sea-surface microlayer, subsurface, mid-depth and bottom water) and sediments from Singapore's coastal environment. The concentration ranges for As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb and Zn in the seawater dissolved phase (DP) were 0.34-2.04, 0.013-0.109, 0.07-0.35, 0.23-1.16, 0.28-0.78, 0.009-0.062 and 0.97-3.66 microg L(-1) respectively. The ranges for Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb and Zn in the suspended particulate matter (SPM) were 0.16-0.73, 6.72-53.93, 12.87-118.29, 4.34-60.71, 1.10-6.08 and 43.09-370.49 microg g(-1), respectively. Heavy metal concentrations in sediments ranged between 0.054-0.217, 37.48-50.52, 6.30-21.01, 13.27-26.59, 24.14-37.28 and 48.20-62.36 microg g(-1) for Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb and Zn, respectively. The lowest concentrations of metals in the DP and SPM were most frequently found in the subsurface water while the highest concentrations were mostly observed in the SML and bottom water. Overall, heavy metals in both the dissolved and particulate fractions have depth profiles that show a decreasing trend of concentrations from the subsurface to the bottom water, indicating that the prevalence of metals is linked to the marine biological cycle. In comparison to data from Greece, Malaysia and USA, the levels of metals in the DP are considered to be low in Singapore. Higher concentrations of particulate metals were reported for the Northern Adriatic Sea and the Rhine/Meuse estuary in the Netherlands compared to values reported in this study. The marine sediments in Singapore are not heavily contaminated when compared to metal levels in marine sediments from other countries such as Thailand, Japan, Korea, Spain and China.

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