Assessing geochemical influence of traffic and other vehicle-related activities on heavy metal contamination in urban soils of Kerman city, using a GIS-based approach

  • Mohammad Ali Hamzeh
  • Alijan Aftabi
  • Mohammad Mirzaee
Original Paper


Heavy metal pollution caused by traffic activities is increasingly becoming a great threat to urban environmental quality and human health. In this paper, soils of Kerman urban and suburban areas were collected to assess the potential effects of traffic and other vehicle-related pollution by heavy metal accumulation in soils. Eighty-six samples were collected along streets and from residential and rural sectors, as well as vehicle-related workshops from depth of 0–5 and 15–20 cm and analyzed by flame atomic absorption spectrometry (FAAS) for heavy metals (Cd, Cr, Cu, Pb, Sn and Zn), as well as major elements (Al, Ca, Fe and Mn). Several hot-spot areas were identified in the composite geochemical maps produced based on Geographical Information System (GIS) technology. The majority of the hot-spot areas were identified to be vehicle-related workshops, fuel stations and road junctions. The most polluted hot-spot in the study area was located in soils close to a car battery processing workshop in the southwestern part of Kerman city, with concentrations of Cd (0.32 mg/kg), Cr (169 mg/kg), Cu (250 mg/kg), Pb (5,780 mg/kg), Sn (27.2 mg/kg) and Zn (178 mg/kg) of 1, 8.5, 8.3, 230, 13.5 and 3 times more than the relevant mean concentrations in natural soils, respectively. Traffic pollution has resulted in significant accumulation of heavy metals in soils and sediments, and that level of accumulation varied remarkably among elements. Based on X-ray diffraction analysis, most parts of soils and sediments of the Kerman basement consist of calcite and clay minerals. Abundance of clay minerals and medium to alkaline pH causes low mobility of heavy metals in soils of Kerman.


GIS Heavy metals Kerman Pollution Urban soils 



This investigation was supported by Department of Geology, Faculty of Sciences, Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman. Partial support for this project was provided by a research grant from the Department of Environmental Sciences, International Center for Science and High Technology and Environmental Sciences. I would like to acknowledge Mr. M. Torkzadeh from the analytical laboratory of the International Center for Science and High Technology and Environmental Sciences. The paper is part of the M.Sc. Thesis of the first author carried out under supervision of Dr. A. Aftabi at Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohammad Ali Hamzeh
    • 1
  • Alijan Aftabi
    • 2
  • Mohammad Mirzaee
    • 3
  1. 1.Iranian National Institute for Oceanography (INIO)TehranIran
  2. 2.Department of GeologyShahid Bahonar University of KermanKermanIran
  3. 3.Department of Environmental SciencesInternational Center for Science and High Technology and Environmental SciencesKermanIran

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