L. Sahakyan, G. Tepanosyan, G. Melkonyan, N. Maghakyan, A. Saghatelyan; Geography, Environment, Sustainability, 2019, 12 (4), pp. 252-271; DOI: https://doi.org/10.24057/2071-9388-2019-121
Mercury is a widespread environmental pollutant becoming a crucial health concern as a result of natural and anthropogenic releases. Understanding Hg distribution pattern between different functional urban areas is needed for urban pollution control and health impact assessment. Therefore, in this paper urban soil Hg spatial distribution, pollution level evaluation, and mercury-induced health risks were studied, for different urban functional areas (355 samples) and kindergartens (18 samples) of Vanadzor. Geospatial mapping and the geostatistical analysis suggest that Hg concentration in the entire area of Vanadzor and its kindergartens has a natural origin, besides a certain anthropogenic impact on some urban sites. According to geoaccumulation index (Igeo), uncontaminated or moderately contaminated levels were detected only in 2 samples from industrial area and 5 samples from residential area, the remaining samples were classified as uncontaminated. In all kindergartens and the 22.15 sq.km of the city (270 samples) are characterized by low level potential ecological risk, whereas 3.85 sq.km (85 samples) correspond to moderate and for 1 sampling site high level of potential ecological risk. A non-carcinogenic health risk assessed for children and adults indicates health hazards neither in Vanadzor entire areas nor in kindergartens. The hazard index (HI) in each urban functional area is less than allowable level (HI <1) for children and adults. Obtained results are indicative and offer the ability for better management of urban soil and urban planning in terms of Hg pollution regulation in different functional areas.
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