Assessment of heavy metals in roadside dust along the Abu Dhabi–Al Ain National Highway, UAE

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Source of Publication

Environmental Earth Sciences

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© 2019, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature. Concentrations of key heavy metals (Pb, Zn, Cd, Ni, Cr, Mn, As, and Hg) have been investigated in roadside dust collected from Abu Dhabi–Al Ain National Highway in UAE. The heavy metals contents were analyzed by atomic absorption spectrometer. Heavy metal levels varied widely from 227.9 to 2765, 19 to 1540, 37.4 to 398.6, 20.1 to 123, 0.3 to 0.7, 0.1 to 0.9, 0.1 to 0.7, and 0.1 to 0.5 mg/kg for Mn, Cr, Zn, Pb, Cd, Hg, Ni, and As, respectively. The spatial distribution pattern showed that different sources of roadway metal emissions dominate at specific locations. Peaks in heavy metal concentrations were frequently observed in locations with high traffic volume, road intersections and junctions, gas and bus stations. Decreased levels of heavy metals were measured in locations with low traffic loadings and in close proximity to farm and forest areas. In addition to traffic-related heavy metals, emissions from fossil fuel and industries remain of significance. Natural sources, through regular dust storms, are important contributors to the observed metal levels. Enrichment factor indicated that As and Ni were entirely originated from crustal sources. Cd, Zn, Pb, and Mn were moderately enriched and are probably derived from mixed sources (traffic flows, gas stations, construction and agricultural activities, among others). Road dust was significantly enriched in Cr and Hg indicating their dominant anthropogenic origin. The average geo-accumulation index values suggested that road dust are uncontaminated with Mn, Ni, and As, uncontaminated to moderately contaminated with Zn and Pb, and moderately contaminated with Cr, Cd, and Hg. The contamination factors indicated very highly contaminated road dust with Cr and Hg, considerably contaminated with Cd, and moderately contaminated with Mn, Zn, and Pb. Results of ecological risk assessment revealed that all heavy metals in road dust pose low risk to local ecosystems, except for Cd and Hg, which constitute potentially considerable risk and high risk, respectively.




Springer Verlag





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Life Sciences


Contamination factor, Ecological risk assessment, Geo-accumulation index, Heavy metals, Roadside dust, UAE

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Indexed in Scopus


Open Access