Assessment of the Toxic Elements Resulting from the Manufacture of Bricks on Air and Soil at Abu Smeache Area - Southwest Babylon governorate - Iraq
Brick factories distributed within the study area use fuel oil to complete the burning of the bricks, were high amounts of gases and suspended particles with different concentrations of heavy elements are produced and cause air and soil pollution. It is noted that the workers suffer from respiratory diseases and other health problems. This study is an attempt to detect the sources and concentrations of pollutants and to propose modalities for their treatment and reduction. Air and soil samples were collected from different sites in Abu Smeache brick factory in Al-Kifl area to the south of Babel city, Iraq, during two seasons (summer and winter). The process also included collecting and modelling of dust and soil samples from two depth, surface and sub-surface, to detect pollution and the mobility of heavy elements across the different depths. Heavy elements (Pb, Ni, Co), along with gases (CO, CO2, NO2, SO2) and total suspended particles (TSP) in the air, were analyzed by atomic absorption spectroscopy. The air results showed high pollution with all the studied heavy elements, while the levels of TSP and SO2 were higher than global and Iraqi limits in most of the studied stations, especially in the winter. The results also showed significant pollution in the soil with lead along with slight contamination with nickel and cobalt. Soil contamination was evaluated using several contamination indices; the values of contamination factors (CF) for the lead were very high, while CF values for nickel and copper indicated low to moderate pollution. Also, the high values of PLI Ëƒ1 in the soil indicated high pollution with heavy elements, which provides clear evidence of the impact of industrial human activities on the environment of the region. In addition, low values of i-geo indicated a moderate contamination with lead and an unpolluted status for both nickel and copper. These results indicate a great need to develop strategies to prevent and reduce pollution by heavy metals in the areas under rapid industrial and urban development.