Mercury contamination of riverine sediments in the vicinity of a mercury cell chlor-alkali plant in Sagua River, Cuba

Yoelvis Bolaños-Álvarez, Carlos Manuel Alonso-Hernández, Roberto Morabito, Misael Díaz-Asencio, Valentina Pinto, Miguel Gómez-Batista

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Abstract

Sediment is a great indicator for assessing coastal mercury contamination. The objective of this study was to assess the magnitude of mercury pollution in the sediments of the Sagua River, Cuba, where a mercury-cell chlor-alkali plant has operated since the beginning of the 1980s. Surface sediments and a sediment core were collected in the Sagua River and analyzed for mercury using an Advanced Mercury Analyser (LECO AMA-254). Total mercury concentrations ranged from 0.165 to 97 μg g-1dry weight surface sediments. Enrichment Factor (EF), Index of Geoaccumulation (Igeo) and Sediment Quality Guidelines were applied to calculate the degrees of sediment contamination. The EF showed the significant role of anthropogenic mercury inputs in sediments of the Sagua River. The result also determined that in all stations downstream from the chlor-alkali plant effluents, the mercury concentrations in the sediments were higher than the Probable Effect Levels value, indicating a high potential for adverse biological effects. The Igeo index indicated that the sediments in the Sagua River are evaluated as heavily polluted to extremely contaminated and should be remediated as a hazardous material. This study could provide the latest benchmark of mercury pollution and prove beneficial to future pollution studies in relation to monitoring works in sediments from tropical rivers and estuaries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)376 - 382
Number of pages7
JournalChemosphere
Volume152
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016
Externally publishedYes

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemistry(all)

Cite this

Bolaños-Álvarez, Y., Alonso-Hernández, C. M., Morabito, R., Díaz-Asencio, M., Pinto, V., & Gómez-Batista, M. (2016). Mercury contamination of riverine sediments in the vicinity of a mercury cell chlor-alkali plant in Sagua River, Cuba. Chemosphere, 152, 376 - 382. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2016.03.025