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Seasonal Variations of Heavy Metals in the Soil Around a Coal-Fired Thermal Power Plant, South-West Coast of India


This study focuses on seasonal variations of heavy metals in the soil around a coal fired thermal power plant in Udupi district, which is a densely populated town in the tropical southwest coast of India. This study, pertaining to 48 soil samples, collected during the pre-monsoon, early-monsoon, monsoon and post-monsoon seasons for one year, reveals that the chemistry of collected soil samples is influenced by non-pedogenic (anthropogenic) sources such as fly-ash deposition from the thermal power plant and vehicular emissions. This was concluded based on grouping of similar behaved elements through correlation–regression analysis. The distance-wise distribution of heavy metals and backward wind-trajectory analysis suggests that pre-monsoon and post-monsoonal samples are more influenced by anthropogenic activities compared to rest of the seasons. This is supported by high concentration of Zn in pre-monsoon (25.21 mg/kg) and post-monsoon (21.32 mg/kg) seasons compared to early-monsoon (17.05 mg/kg) and monsoon (8.60 mg/kg) seasons.

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Dr TMA Pai Endowment Chair-Earth Sciences and post-doctoral research grant (to KB) is thanked for the logistical support.

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Correspondence to Keshava Balakrishna.

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Gune, M.M., Harshavardhana, B.G., Ma, WL. et al. Seasonal Variations of Heavy Metals in the Soil Around a Coal-Fired Thermal Power Plant, South-West Coast of India. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 104, 602–608 (2020).

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  • Soil pollution
  • Heavy metals
  • Tropical regions
  • Thermal power plant
  • Udupi Power Corporation Limited (UPCL) India