Traffic and Lead Pollution on Lake Maracaibo's Western Coast

by Blanca Medina, Ministry of Education, Maracaibo, Venezuela,
Hender Urdaneta, Ministry of Education, Maracaibo, Venezuela,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastal Zone '93


This project focused on Nerium Oleander (NO) (Berberia), an ornamental plant. Chemical analyses (acid digestion and atomic absorption spectrophotometry) of the plant's tissue and the soil surrounding the plant were carried out in order to evaluate lead levels in environments with low, medium and heavy traffic in the northern area of Maracaibo, located on the western coast of Lake Maracaibo. The results showed that: NO and the soils of the northern area with heaviest traffic accumulated the greatest concentrations of Pb; the soils of the northern area with heavy and medium traffic stored a higher relative percentage of Pb than NO; Pb is absorbed by the roots of NO; Pb dispersion and accumulation in the leaves and roots of NO were governed by such common factors as emission sources and humid precipitation; the percentage of organic matter (OM) in the soil played an important role in the accumulation of PB in NO and in the soil. It was determined that the high Pb concentration in the northern area of Maracaibo is caused chiefly by vehicular traffic; also that NO can reflect environmental pollution, especially in the dry season.

Subject Headings: Lead (chemical) | Lakes | Traffic management | Air pollution | Water pollution | Pollution | Vegetation | Coastal processes | Venezuela | South America

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