Water, Air, and Soil Pollution

, Volume 21, Issue 1–4, pp 279–315 | Cite as

Air pollution patterns in two cities of Colombia, S. A. According to trace substances content of an epiphyte (Tillandsia recurvata L.)

  • Ernst Schrimpff


The air pollution of two major Colombian cities (Medellin and Cali) has been examined by means of 66 samples of the epiphyte Tillandsia recurvata L., which acts as a biofilter. After performing heavy metals (Zn, Pb, Cd, Cu, Ni, Cr), pesticides (BHCs, HCB, dieldrine, endrine, DDTs), PCBs, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH: FA, BaP, IcdP, BghiP) analyses, the results proved the utility of this inconspicuous plant to determine the airborne contamination of both inorganic and organic trace substances. Using principal component analysis, 10 classes of independent pollution sources could be discriminated for both regions: (1) Zn and the PAH, (2) BHCs, endrine and DDTs, (3) Ni and Cr, and (4) to (10) the other contaminants, which resulted to be more or less independent from each other. By means of cluster analysis, 6 to 8 pollutional groups were clustered for heavy metals, pesticides, and PAH separately. The topographic and industrial features of the Cali and Medellin areas are discussed in relation to the regional means of heavy metals, pesticides, and PAH content. While Cali is distinctive of high levels of Pb, Cu, BaP, and pesticides, Medellin is more severely polluted by Zn, Cd, Ni, Cr, FA, and IcdP. In comparison to the southern U.S. and Central Europe, both conglomeration areas appear to be heavily polluted by Zn, Cu, Ni, Cr, and DDTs.


Heavy Metal Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon PCBs Cali Colombia 
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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ernst Schrimpff
    • 1
  1. 1.Lehrstuhl für HydrologieUniversitöt BayreuthBayreuthWest Germany

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