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Keywords:

  • Enrichment factors;
  • geoaccumulation index;
  • metal pollution;
  • principal component analysis;
  • sediment;
  • Sfax coastal zone

Abstract

The concentrations of selected heavy metals (Cr, Cd, Ni, Zn, Cu, Pb, Mn, and Fe) in surface sediments from the coastal zone of “Sfax-Kerkennah” plateau (Tunisia) were studied to understand the current degree of metal contamination. The geochemical analyses showed wide spatial variations in metal concentrations. Enrichment factors (EFs) and principal component analysis revealed two distinct groups of metals. The first group corresponded to Mn and Fe that were derived from natural sources, and the second group contained Cr, Cd, Ni, Zn, Cu and to a lesser degree Pb that originated from anthropogenic sources. The localized higher EF values that were in harmony with those of the spatial distribution of element concentrations confirmed the significant impact of anthropogenic activities. On the basis of geoaccumulation index values (Igeo), these activities were shown to be responsible for important sediment contamination, especially close to the coastline. © 2010 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Environ Prog, 2011