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Potentially toxic elements concentrations in schoolyard soils in the city of Coronel, Chile

Abstract

Urban areas are constantly growing. By 2050, the urban world population, it is predicted to reach 6 billion. Being component of cities environment, urban soils have elevated levels of potentially toxic elements from anthropogenic action. The aims of this study are (1) to establish background levels of potentially toxic element in soils in the city of Coronel and (2) to assess the pollution and identify its origin. Samples (129 in total) were collected in Coronel, from 43 sites in schoolyards. Three samples were taken at each site: 0–10 cm, 10–20 cm and 150 cm depth. Principal component analysis (PCA), cluster analysis (CA) and depth ratios were applied to distinguish the origin of the contamination. The geoaccumulation index, contamination factor and the integrated pollution index were used to estimate the pollution. The median concentration of the chemical elements in 0–10 cm depth was Ba 38 mg kg−1; Co 15 mg kg−1; Cr 18 mg kg−1; Cu 22 mg kg−1; Mn 536 mg kg−1; Ni 35.5 mg kg−1; Pb 6 mg kg−1; V 94 mg kg−1; Zn 65 mg kg−1. Principal component analysis and CA suggested that Co, Ni and Mn were mainly derived from geogenic origin, while Ba, Cr, Cu, Pb, V and Zn from anthropic origin. Contamination factor indicated that some soil samples were classified as considerable contaminated to very highly contaminated by Ba, Pb, Zn and V.

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Data availability

The data that support the findings of this work are available from the corresponding author (P. Tume).

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Acknowledgements

The sampling campaign was performed in collaboration with the students from a Contamination Soils course. The Authors appreciate the corrections made by the Editor and Reviewers to improve the original manuscript.

Funding

This work was partially supported by the Centro de Investigación en Biodiversidad y Ambientes Sustentables (CIBAS), Project 03/2019 and FONDECYT grant 1130366.

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PT contributed to conceptualization, methodology, sampling, writing-original draft preparation and editing; VA was involved in data curation and investigation; NR contributed to investigation and writing-reviewing; Frances XF contributed to Geology; JB contributed to supervision.

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Correspondence to Pedro Tume.

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Tume, P., Acevedo, V., Roca, N. et al. Potentially toxic elements concentrations in schoolyard soils in the city of Coronel, Chile. Environ Geochem Health 44, 1521–1535 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10653-021-00909-y

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Keywords

  • Potentially toxic elements
  • Urban soils
  • Ecological indices
  • Coronel (Chile)