Heavy Metal Contamination of Surface Soil in Relationship to Land Use Patterns: A Case Study of Benue State, Nigeria
Christopher Iorfa Adamu, Therese Ntonzi Nganje
DOI: 10.4236/msa.2010.13021   PDF    HTML     8,609 Downloads   16,474 Views   Citations


A detailed investigation was conducted on the relationship between land use patterns and trace metal content in surface soils of the Benue State to assess soil environmental quality. Results revealed that metals levels were generally high in mineralized and urban soils and lower in agricultural soils whilst forest soils were lease by anthropogenic pollution. Mineralized soils developed from weathered sulphides were rich in lead (Pb), zinc (Zn), and cadmium (Cd). Urban soils accumulated copper (Cu), Zn, and Cd most probably from refuse dumps, gasoline combustion and farming. Agricultural soils were enriched in arsenic (As) and to a lesser degree Pb and Cd originating most probably from the application of pesticides, manure and fertilizers. A pollution index (PI) based on plant-tolerant contamination levels, indicates that multi-element contamination in soils is low and implies that the sampled soils could be cultivated for crop production especially away from point sources of pollution. The degree of anthropogenic pollution was high for As (80%), and Pb (54%), moderate for Zn (47%), Cd (40%), and low for Cu (27%). Correlations (r) are significant between Zn- Pb (0.7), Cu-As (0.6) in mineralized soils, between Zn-Cu (0.64), Zn-Cd (0.5), Cu-Cd (0.6), in urban soils, As-Cd (0.61), in agricultural soils and Zn-Pb (0.82) in forest soils. These distinct relationships indicate a common source or similar geochemical control. Based on the overall evaluation, recommendation in respect of contamination, control and monitoring strategies as well as land use planning in the study area are presented.

Share and Cite:

Adamu, C. and Nganje, T. (2010) Heavy Metal Contamination of Surface Soil in Relationship to Land Use Patterns: A Case Study of Benue State, Nigeria. Materials Sciences and Applications, 1, 127-134. doi: 10.4236/msa.2010.13021.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] J. W. C. Wong, “Heavy Metal Contents in Vegetables and Market Garden Soils in Hong Kong,” Environmental Technology, Vol. 17, 1996, pp. 407-410.
[2] K. G. Tiller, “Urban Soil Contamination in Australia,” Australia Journal of soil Research, Vol. 30, No. 6, 1992, pp. 937-957.
[3] H. T. Chon, J. S. Ahn and M. C. Jung, “Seasonal Varia- tions and Chemical Forms of Heavy Metals in Soils and Dusts from the Satellite Cities of Seoul, Korea,” Envi- ronmental Geochemistry and Health, Vol. 20, 1998, pp. 77-86.
[4] M. C. Jung, I. Thornton and H. T. Chon, “Arsenic, Sb, and Bi Contamination of Soils, Plants, Waters and Sedi- ments in the Vicinity of the Dalsung Cu-W Mine in Korea,” Science of the Total Environment, Vol. 295, No. 1-3, 2002, pp. 81-89.
[5] I. D. Pulford and C, Watson, “Phytoremediation of Heavy Metals Contaminated Land by Tree-A View,” Environ- ment International, Vol. 29, No. 4, 2003, pp. 529-540.
[6] M. H. Wong, “Ecological Restoration of Mine Degraded Soils with Emphasis on Metal Contaminated Soils,” Chemosphere, Vol. 50, No. 6, 2003, pp. 775-780.
[7] W. W. Wenzel and F. Yockwer, “Accumulation of Heavy Metals in Plants Grown on Mineralized Soils of the Aus- tralian Alps,” Environmental Pollution, Vol. 104, No. 1, 1999, pp. 145-155.
[8] A. Kabata-Pendias and H. Pendias, “Trace Elements in Soils and Plants,” CRC Press, New York, 2001.
[9] A. Hursthouse, D. Tognareli, P. Tucker, F. A. Marsan, C. Martini, L. Madrid, F. Madrid and E. Diaz-Barrientos, “Metal Content of Surface Soils in Parks and Allotments from Three European Cities: Initial Plot Study Results,” Land Contamination and Reclamation, Vol. 12, No. 3, 2004, pp. 189-197.
[10] B. Singh, “Heavy Metals in Soils: Sources, Chemical Reactions and Forms,” In: D. Smith, S. Fityus and M. Allman, Eds., Proceedings of the 2nd Australia and New Zealand Conference on Environmental Geotechnics New- castle, New South Wales, Australian Geochemical Society, Newcastle, 2001, pp. 77-93.
[11] F. Mapanda, E. N. Mangwayana, J. Nyamangara and K. E. Giller, “The Effect of Long-Term Irrigation Using Waste- water on Heavy Metal Contents of Soils Under Vegetable Harare, Zimbabwe,” Agriculture, Ecosystems & Envi- ronment, Vol. 107, No. 2-3, 2005, pp. 151-165.
[12] I. Thornton and J. Plant, “Regional Geochemical Map-ping and Health in the U. K.,” Journal of Geological So-ciety, London, Vol. 137, No. 5, 1980, pp. 575-586.
[13] A. E. Edet and E. E. U. Ntekim, “Heavy Metal Distribu- tion in Groundwater from Akwa Ibom State, Eastern Ni- ger Delta, Nigeria-A Preliminary Pollution Assess- ment,” Global Journal of Pure and Applied sciences, Vol. 2, No. 1, 1996, pp. 67-77.
[14] S. J. Salami, E. A. Akande and D. M. Zachariah, “Level of Heavy Metals in Soils and Lemon Grass in Jos, Bukuru and Environs, Nigeria,” Global Journal of Pure and Ap- plied Sciences, Vol. 13, No. 2, 2007, pp. 193-196.
[15] Q. Zhang, X. Shi, B. Huang, D. Yu, I. Oborn, K. Blom- back, H. Wang, T. F. Pagella and F. L. Sinclair, “Surface Water Quality of Factory-Based and Vegetable Based Pe- ri-Urban Areas in the Yangtze River Delta Region, Chi- na,” CATENA, Vol. 69, No. 1, 2007, pp. 57-64.
[16] C. I. Adamu, T. Nyiategher and J. I. Angitso, “Metal Con- tamination at Dump Sites in Makurdi, Nigeria,” Global Journal of Geological Science, Vol. 1, No. 1, 2003, pp. 85-93.
[17] “Nigerian Population Census Results (NPC),” 2006.
[18] J. O. Agbenin, “Phosphate Induced Zinc Retention inSemi Arid Soils,” European Journal of Soil Science, Vol.49, No. 4, 1998, pp. 693-700.
[19] P. A. Cox, “The Elements on Earth: Inorganic Chemistry in the Environment,” Oxford University Press Inc., New York, 1995.
[20] H. T. Chon, J. S. Ahn and M. C. Jung, “Heavy Metal Contamination in the Vicinity of some Base Metal Mines in Korea—A Review,” Geosystem Engineering, Vol. 1, No. 2, 1998, pp. 74-83.
[21] A. Kloke, “Content of Arsenic, Cadmium, Chromium, Fluorine, Lead, Mercury, and Nickel in Plants Grown on Contaminated Soils,” United Nations-ECE Symposium, Geneva, 1979, pp. 51-53.
[22] H. J. M. Bowen, “Environmental Geochemistry of Ele- ments,” Academic Press, London, 1979.
[23] A. O. Oyewale and I. I. Funtua, “Lead, Copper and Zinc Levels in Soils along Kaduna—Zaria Highway, Nige- ria—Estimation of Pollution Level,” Scientia, Vol. 2, No. 1, 2003, pp. 26-32.
[24] F. A .M. De Haan, “Soil Quality in Relation to Soil Pol- lution,” In: J. V. Lake, F. Willey, G. R. Bock and L. Ack- ril, Eds., Environmental Change and Human Health, Wi- ley, Chichester, Vol. 175, 1993, pp. 104-123.

Copyright © 2024 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.