Heavy metal contamination in western Xiamen Bay sediments and its vicinity, China.
ABSTRACT Concentrations of selected heavy metals (Cu, Pb, Zn, Cd, Cr, Ni and Fe) in surface sediments from nine sites in western Xiamen Bay and its vicinity were studied in order to understand current metal contamination due to urbanization and economic development in Xiamen, China. The sediment samples were collected in December 2004 and July 2005 respectively in order to examine temporal variations. In this study, we found that heavy metal concentrations in surface sediments sampled in the western Xiamen Bay and adjacent Maluan Bay and Yuandang Lagoon varied from 19 to 97mg kg(-1) for Cu, 45 to 60mg kg(-1) for Pb, 65 to 223mg kg(-1) for Zn, 0.11 to 1.01mg kg(-1) for Cd, 37 to 134mg kg(-1) for Cr, 25 to 65mg kg(-1) for Ni and 3.08 to 4.81% for Fe. Although all metal concentrations in sediments meets Chinese National Standard Criteria for Marine Sediment Quality, both metal enrichment factors (EF) and geoaccumulation index (I(geo)) show that Pb contamination exists in the entire study area and contamination of other metals are also present in some locations depending on the sources, of which sewage outlets and commercial ports are the main sources of contaminants to the area. This study shows that using the sediment quality standard criteria only to assess sediments cannot properly reflect sediment contamination. A multiple approaches should be applied for the sediment quality assessment.