Heavy metal contents of contaminated soils and ecological risk assessment in abandoned copper mine harbor in Yedidalga, Northern Cyprus

  • Mohammed Omer Barkett
  • Ertan Akün
Original Article


Total concentrations of heavy metals in the soil from Yedidalga mine harbor, one of the biggest copper export facilities in Cyprus having produced large amounts of mine wastes, were measured to determine the total contents of Cu, Pb, Cr, Cd and Zn. The study also evaluated the level of contamination and assessed the potential ecological risk posed by heavy metals. Soil samples were collected and heavy metal contents were determined using atomic absorption spectrophotometer (AAS). Several quantitative indices were utilized to assess the soil pollution status. Results revealed that comparatively all heavy metals exceeded the background values. The peak values were observed in the soils from the locations close to the Yedidalga farming lands. Geo-accumulation index (Igeo) showed that Cu had the highest contamination (Igeo > 3) among the other heavy metals. Pearson correlation and cluster analysis identified that Cd, Cr and Pb had a relationship, besides the significant correlation between Cu and Zn, the presence of which was mainly related to the mine wastes. Pollution load index (PLI) graded the overall studied area as moderately–heavily contaminated level. Potential ecological risk analysis manifested that the entire ecological risk level indicated that 55.6% of sampling locations exceeded 300 (RI > 300). These study results suggest that pollution control measures must be implemented. The main cause of accumulation of these metals is found to be associated with the presence of dispersed mine wastes in Yedidalga mine harbor.


Heavy metals Soil contamination Pollution assessment Ecological risk Yedidalga mine harbor 



This study was materially supported by the Environmental Research Center of Cyprus International University. However, the study did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, Faculty of EngineeringCyprus International UniversityNicosiaTurkey
  2. 2.Faculty of Engineering, Biotechnology Research CenterCyprus International UniversityNicosiaTurkey

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