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Nutrient and Trace Metal Issues in the Pearl River Delta, China

  • Lichun Xie
  • Lei Gao
  • Jianyao Chen
Chapter

Abstract

The Pearl River Delta (PRD) has undergone rapid urban growth and industrial development during the past four decades, and human activities have become one of the most important factors affecting the environment in the region. Therefore, there is an urgent need to examine the influence of urbanization on surface water and groundwater systems. Based on data collection and analyses of industry, agriculture, environmental protection efforts, natural conditions, and population statistics in 2000, 2005, and 2010, we assessed the nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) budgets and their regional differences in the PRD between the three time periods. The N and P input and output varied greatly during 2000–2010, whereas the N and P surplus increased continuously. In addition, intense human activities induced severe trace metal pollution in the Shima River close to an important water supply source. Zinc and copper concentrations markedly exceeded the national water quality standards (Class I) in the dry season. Meanwhile, various pollution sources significantly contributed to metal accumulation in riverine sediments, leading to a slight enrichment in lead, manganese, and iron, and moderate-to-heavy enrichment of chromium, nickel, copper, zinc, and cadmium. Hierarchical cluster analysis indicates that sediment pollution caused by trace metals was mainly associated with industrial and agricultural activities.

Keywords

Pearl River Delta Environmental mediums Nutrients budget Trace metals pollution Water safety 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Geography and TourismGuangdong University of Finance & EconomicsGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.School of Geography and PlanningSun Yat-sen UniversityGuangzhouChina

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