Metal Enrichment and Toxicity Levels in Sediments from the Tourist Beaches of Southern Durban, South Africa

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Shruti Venkata Chari1, E Vetrimurugan2, M.P Jonathan3 and Pedro F. Rodriguez-Espinosa3, (1)CIIEMAD Interdisciplinary Center for Research and Studiews on Environemnt and Development, Mexico City, Mexico, (2)University Of Zululand, Department of Hydrology, KwaDlangezwa,3886, South Africa, (3)Instituto Politécnico Nacional, Interdisciplinario de Investigaciones y Estudios sobre Medio Ambiente y Desarrollo, México DF, Mexico
Durban city in South Africa is developing in a fast pace in the field of tourism and thereby needs to be reviewed for the enrichment of metals in tourist beaches. Geochemical studies have been done on nearly 65 beach sediments collected from inter-tidal regions of Amanzi Toti, Isipingo, Bluff, Cutting and southern part of Durban beaches. The study was done in order to unravel the anthropogenic and natural geochemical signals. Total (TTMs) and partially extracted trace metals (PETMs) (As, Ba, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb, Sr, V, Zn) in sediments were evaluated along with organic carbon and carbonates. Evaluation of enrichment of geochemical elements were done using contamination factor (CF), pollution load index (PLI), ecological risk index (RI) and geoaccumulation index (Igeo) to understand the pollution status of the study area and it indicates that As, Cd, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb, V and Zn are enriched by two to three folds from the natural background values. Uncontrolled tourism activities have led to increase of certain elements in the Durban beaches. Textural analysis provides the information regarding the dominance of sediments either in sand fraction, mud fraction or gravel. The results indicated that they are dominantly coarse grained except in regions where local river input is observed. Industrial development as well as the mining activities in few locations near the coast has led to increase in the elemental concentrations. Regular monitoring of enrichment levels of trace metals in the sediments is mandatory to assess the beach quality in order to restore them from further enrichment so that the biological system in this region is also preserved.

Keywords: Tourism, Beach sediments, Trace metals, contamination indices.