Historically, people settled near rivers, and when small settlements were replaced by cities, and cities began to grow, turning into industrial centers, river waters and floodplain lands felt this first of all – various pollutants began to accumulate in them.
Among them, heavy metals and metalloids such as chromium, nickel, copper, zinc, cadmium, arsenic and lead are distinguished into a separate group – these are potentially toxic elements that, accumulating in the soil in large quantities, can enter food and cause poisoning. However, in Russia, soil pollution in the floodplains of large rivers with potentially toxic elements has been extensively studied only in the Volga and Selenga deltas, while the coasts of other large rivers remained poorly studied.
Employees of the Southern Federal University and the Rostov National Medical Research Center of Oncology of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation assessed the level of potentially toxic elements in the soils of the lower reaches of the Don and the coast of the Taganrog Bay.
On the banks of the Don and its tributaries, there are large cities with developed industry and agriculture, so there is a threat of soil pollution due to vigorous human activity. The researchers took 86 soil samples on the shores of the Don delta and Taganrog Bay, in which the content of certain chemical elements was measured.
In an article in Environmental Geochemistry and Health it is said that only in the vicinity of large cities (Novocherkassk, Taganrog and Azov) the concentrations of cadmium and lead are approximately twice the norm. On the other hand, chromium, nickel, copper and zinc accumulate in the floodplains of small rivers, far from potential sources of pollution. Obviously, elements of natural origin are deposited here in the soil, and most intensively they are deposited where the current slows down.
But in general, the level of pollution in the region does not cause concern: all lands by the degree of pollution can be divided into four classes – clean, with the threat of pollution, slightly and moderately polluted. In the future, the researchers plan to supplement and expand their work by analyzing the pollution of the floodplain soils of other large rivers in Russia.
This work was supported by the Russian Science Foundation (RSF).
Based on materials from the press service of the Russian Science Foundation.
Source: Автономная некоммерческая организация "Редакция журнала «Наука и жизнь»" by www.nkj.ru.
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