Assessment of the pollution degree for some heavy elements in street dust around the shrine of Imam Hussein, Kerbala, Iraq

Document Type : Research Paper


1 College of Applied Medical Sciences, University of Kerbala, Kerbala, Iraq

2 College of Education for Pure Sciences, University of Kerbala, Kerbala, Iraq

3 General Directorate of Education in Karbala, Karbala, Iraq



Heavy element pollutions in urban street dust has caused global concern due to the potential danger to human health and the urban environment. Therefore, the present study was designed to assess street dust pollution in Kerbala, the most important city in terms of religious tourism. Samples were collected from most of the streets surrounding the Imam Hussein shrine and the concentration of elements (arsenic, lead, copper, chromium, cadmium and zinc) were measured using an atomic absorption spectrometry. The results showed that the arranging of those elements according to their concentration was as follows: Zn> Pb> Cu> Cr> As> Cd. Street dust was contaminated with a strong and serious degree according to total complex indices; integrated pollution index (IPI) and Nemerow pollution index, and that the most polluting elements to dust are cadmium and lead based on single pollution indicators enrichment factor (EF), pollution index (PI), and geo-accumulation Index (Igeo). This was attributed to the traffic density and vehicle exhausts, especially the exhausts of the numerous electricity generators inside the city. Therefore, the study recommends prohibiting the use of leaded gasoline and providing the city with a constant electric current to prevent the operation of generators and the obligation to clean the streets.


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