Skip to main content

Analysis of Moss and Topsoil to Monitor Metal Emissions from a Pulp and Paper Mill in Western Kenya

Abstract

The mean concentrations of Zn, Cu, Cd, Cr and Fe in mosses around Webuye Pan Paper factory were found to be significantly higher than in controls taken from Kakamega, indicating atmospheric contribution from the anthropogenic activities within the factory, shown within a radius of 1 km around the factory. The mean concentrations (μg/g dry weight) in the mosses ranged from 60.9–124.5, 22.6–34.2, 13.3–14.7, 20.1–33.3 and 1,822.4–2,079.2, respectively. The mean concentrations of Pb in mosses sampled from the eastern and western side of the factory were also significantly higher than in controls. The mean concentrations of Zn, Cu, Cd, Cr, Pb and Fe in topsoil samples ranged from 7 (Pb)–2,310 (Fe) mg/kg dry wt, depending on sample means based on site direction, distance from the factory and season. There was no clear variation in metal concentrations in mosses and topsoils with direction from the factory which was consistent with the observed fluctuations in wind direction which changed from south-west in the mornings to north and south-west in the afternoons during sampling.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2

References

  1. Adamo P, Crisafulli P, Giordano S, Minganti V, Modenesi P, Monaci F, Pittao E, Tretiach M, Bargagli R (2007) Lichen and moss bags as monitoring devices in urban areas, Part II: trace element content in living and dead biomonitors and comparison with synthetic materials. Environ Pollut 146:392–399

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Belivermis M, Kilic O, Cotuc Y (2008) Heavy metal and radioactivity concentrations in soil and moss samples from Istanbul, Turkey. IUFS J Biol 67:39–47

    Google Scholar 

  3. Buse A, Norris D, Harmens H, Buker P, Ashenden T, Mills G (2003) Heavy metals in European mosses: 2000/2001 survey. United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), International Cooperative Programme (ICP) Vegetation Coordination Centre, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Bangor, UK. Available in http://icpvegetation.ceh.ac.uk. Accessed 23 Sept 2009

  4. Coskun M, Steinnes E, Frontasyeva MV, Sjobakk TE, Demkina S (2006) Heavy metal pollution of surface soil in the Thrace region, Turkey. Environ Monitor Assess 119:545–556

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Fernandez JA, Carballiera A (2000) A comparison of indigenous mosses and topsoils for use in monitoring atmospheric heavy metal depsition in Galicia (northwest Spain). Environ Pollut 114:431–441

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Krishna MVB, Karunasagar D, Arunachalam J (2003) Study of mercury pollution near a thermometer factory using lichens and mosses. Environ Pollut 124:357–360

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Markert B, Wappelhorst O, Weckert V, Herpin U, Siewers U, Friese K, Breulmann G (1999) The use of bioindicators for monitoring the heavy metal status of the environment. J Radioanalyt Nuc Chem 240(2):425–429

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Muendo BM (2009) Analysis of pesticide residues in Nzoia Sugarcane zone and studies of enhanced degradation of herbicides using compost. MSc thesis, Maseno University, Maseno, Kenya

  9. Oduor O (1994) Death mill: a case study of pan African paper mills (EA) Limited. A report, Webuye, Kenya

  10. Parrott JL, McMaster ME, Hewitt LM (2006) A decade of research on the environmental impacts of the pulp and paper mill effluents in Canada: development and application of fish bioassays. J Toxicol Environ Health Part B 9:297–317

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Pepi M, Remiero D, Baldi F, Barbieri P (2006) A comparison of MER: LUX whole cell biosensors and moss, a bioindicator for estimating mercury pollution. Wat Air Soil Pollut 173:163–175

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Romic M, Romic D (2003) Heavy metals distribution in agricultural topsoils in urban area. Environ Geol 43(7):795–798

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. Ruhling A (1994) Monitoring of atmospheric heavy metal deposition in Europe using bryophytes and humus samples as indicators. A proposal for international programme 1995, Department of Plant Ecology, mimeo, 1994-11-2, University of Lund, Sweden

  14. Saxena DK, Srivastava K, Singh S (2008) Retrospective metal data of the last 100 years deduced by moss, Barbula sp from Mussoorie city. J Current Sci 94:2–6

    Google Scholar 

  15. Singh B (2001) Heavy metal in soils, sources, chemical reactions and forms. In: Smith D, Fityus S, Allan M (eds) Proceedings of the 2nd Australia and New Zealand conference on environmental geotechnics and geo-environment. Australian Geochemical Society, Newcastle, New South Wales, pp 77–93

  16. UNECE (2008) United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, Convention on Long-range transboundary air pollution. Monitoring of atmospheric heavy metal deposition in Europe using bryophytes. Monitoring Manual 2005/2006 Survey. http://icpvegetation.ceh.ac.uk/Reports/Moss_monitoring_%20manual/UNECEHEAVYMETALSMOSSMANUAL2005.pdf. Accessed 23 Sept 2009

  17. Wagner A, Boman J (2003) Biomonitoring of trace elements in muscle and liver tissue of freshwater fish. Spectrochimica Acta Part B 58:2215–2226

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  18. Wilcke W, Muller S, Kanchanakool N, Zech S (1998) Urban soil contamination in Bangkok heavy metal and aluminium partitioning in topsoils. Geoderma 86:211–228

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

We thank all technical staff of Chemistry Department, Maseno University for their help during analysis and Eric and Fwuko’s family, respectively, for assistance during sampling at Webuye. We also thank the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) for a visiting fellowship at Bayreuth granted to J.O. Lalah which enabled the preparation of the manuscript.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Joseph O. Lalah.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Adoli, F.K.L., Lalah, J.O. & Okoth, A.O. Analysis of Moss and Topsoil to Monitor Metal Emissions from a Pulp and Paper Mill in Western Kenya. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 86, 137–143 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00128-010-0163-1

Download citation

Keywords

  • Heavy metals
  • Factory emissions
  • Moss
  • Surface soil