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The aim if the research study is to measure and analyze the distribution of the selected
heavy metals in surface and down-core sediments of Qatar’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)
and suggest some of the solutions for the pollution issues caused mainly by anthropogenic
activities. In addition, the study aims to investigate the concentration of those heavy metals in
surface sediment beside the distribution patterns and pollution status.
The distribution of the selected heavy metals (Al, Fe, Mn, V, Cd, Co, Cu, Pb, Zn, Ag, Cr,
Ni) in surface and down-core sediments of Qatar’s EEZ was investigated through 8 stations
along a linear transect, using stainless steel Ponar grab sampler. The sample was collected using
the Van Veen grab sampler method. The findings of the study show that the total phosphorus (p)
and the loss on ignition due to Pearson's correlation analysis with the measured metals were
correlated positively excluding cadmium (Cd). Also, Mercury (Hg), copper (Cu), chromium (Cr),
cadmium (Cd) beside to lead (Pb), due to the principal components analysis, and cluster analysis
could be originated from domestic sewage and industrial wastewater. The relationship between
the grain size composition and the Total Organic Carbon was found to be either linear or
exponential through analysis of 8 samples from seawater. High heavy metal concentrations were
found to be highly silty and with clay particles.
Importance of Studying the Distribution of Heavy Metals
The importance studying the distribution of heavy metals cannot be overlooked in
environmental science. It is worth noting that heavy materials are of high molecular density and
toxicity in both low and high concentrations. Heavy metals pollute natural environment. In fact,
they are the most pollutants of the natural environment. Studying the distribution of heavy
materials helps assist the extent of pollution heavy metal have caused to the natural environment
(Harris & Santos, 2000). Deposition of heavy metals in marine surface and marine sediments
pose a great risk to marine life. Exposure of heavy materials to marine life such as fish, octopus,
whales, and startles can cause the slow but gradual death of marine life. The study of the
distribution of marine life is important because it enables constant checks on water quality issues
and if need be, proper adjustments to environmental policies are done to minimize marine life
Some countries such as Scotland have well established marine bodies which regulate
marine environments. Scotland through a marine body authority known as SEPA monitors the
quality of marine water and levels of heavy metals distribution in Scotland shores. The body also
looks into the association of heavy metals deposition by water and heavy metal deposition
through hydro-geochemistry cycles through activities such as mining and farming. Generally,
studying the distribution of heavy materials in marine surface and sediment, assist in controlling
environmental pollution, therefore, enhancing and supporting marine life (Milne, Landing,
Bizimis & Morton, 2010).
Studying the distribution of metals such as copper and cadmium mainly assists in the
analysis of statistical data. Cadmium which is a by-product of zinc and leads refining mostly
used in car batteries and copper metals are a strong biological affinity in bodies of living things
due to its numerous uses in the body. Copper is linked with planktonic activity in the large water
sources such as lakes. The study of such heavy minerals in marine surface assists in determining
water purity and the stability of marine in a particular section of ocean. High concentrations of
heavy metals which exceed the natural levels contaminate and interfere with the nature of marine
ecosystem (Liu et al, 2016). Accumulation of heavy metals in marine water causes instability in
the ecosystem. Excess accumulation of cadmium and lead in marine water causes the death of
living things either directly or indirectly. Use of contaminated water introduces the traces of the
heavy chemical in food chains which it accumulates in the bodies of human beings, they affect
the proper functioning of heart, liver, and brains. In addition, they displace important elements in
body organs hindering proper biological functions (Puthucherril, 2013).
Excess distribution and accumulation of copper in marine water affect the homeostasis
processes of plants in coastal regions. It causes excessive oxidation in plants due to excessive
intake of excess copper amounts. Moreover, excess accumulation of heavy metals causes soil
degradation and infertility. Land infertility rates cause stunted growth and impossibility of plant
growth along coastal lines. Therefore, excess accumulation of heavy metals causes land
unproductively rendering the land economically unsustainable. In nutshell, the study of heavy
metal distribution assists in studying the stability of ecosystem, land fertility, and maintenance of
quality water standards for aquatic life.
Sources and the Distribution of Heavy Metals in the Sea
The distribution of heavy metals in the sea is based on different physiological factors. A
sedimentary factor which actually removes particles from one region and deposits to another
region is one of the physiological factors that affect the distribution of heavy material in the sea.
Further, the sedimentary factors are classified into chemical and physical factors. Physical
factors refer to the wearing of mineralogical composition of a metal which is transported by wind
or water to the sea. In addition, transport of soluble heavy metals by flowing water is also
classified as physical factors of distribution of heavy metals. Chemical factors include the
oxidation of chemical properties of heavy metals forming new compounds and biological uptake
of heavy metals in organisms body (Dimitrova-Kolea et al, 2007).
There are several ways in which heavy metals sediments are transported from the areas of
high concentration to areas of low concentration (sea surface and marine bottom). Deposition
and accumulation of heavy metals in marines is by riverine discharge, marine organisms, and
dust fall (Snapper & Gibbons, 2013). Reverine discharge is the process by which river water
passes in bedrocks with a high concentration of heavy metals which is then eroded and carried to
the sea. On the other hand, dust fall refers to the deposition of light heavy metals in the sea by
wind. However, contamination and concentration of heavy metals can also be caused by
anthropogenic sources such as sea reclaiming, industrial discharge of chemicals in the sea,
sewage discharges, settlements along the coast, and sediment dredging.
Benefits of Studying the Distribution of Heavy Metals to Qatari Society
The study of the distribution of heavy metals into the marine surface and sediments
assists the Qatar society to understand the problems caused by the excess contamination of
seawater by heavy metals. In addition, it will look into the possible solutions to minimizing
pollution of nature caused by deposition of heavy metals in the seashores. Identifying the sources
of seawater contamination in Qatar will assist in putting in the appropriate pollution control
measures through various environmental assessment indexes. Through identification of sources
of seawater contamination, proper environmental management sensitization programs through
the enlightenment of citizens about the dangers of anthropogenic pollution will be easily
Availability of heavy metal distribution is limited in Qatar. The study aims at establishing
the distribution pattern of heavy metals in tropical shelf sediments, and pollution factors
emanating from domestic and industrial surface discharge to EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone) of
Qatar. Industrial processes mostly result in contamination of marine water and sediments by
heavy metals such s lead, aluminum, and cadmium. Consequently, an uptake in fishery resources
given that the exclusive economic zone allows for quick and easy breeding among the fish
population, it being one of the factors affected by pollution of the EEZ among other targeted
aims as a result of the implication of what has been learned in this study (Valavanis, 2003).
The relationship between TOC and particle grains size
Various research studies conducted to explain the relationship between grains size and
Total organic carbon (TOC) using linear and non-linear regression analysis test positive. Tyson
(1995) in his research study found that the TOC and grain size fractions of heavy metals are
positively correlated. From the results of the study, larger grain size heavy metals accumulations
occurred in silty and clayey. Finer particles capacity hinders the diffusion of oxygen into
sentiments which favors the absorption of charged particles into the surface of heavy metals and
favors preservation of organic matter (McCready, Birch & Long, 2005).Therefore, the
accumulation of some heavy materials is less concentrated than the others since some diffuse and
decompose while others undergo oxidation process leading to high concentrations. According to
the results study, over 80% of the TOC concentration is explained by the size of grain particles.
Magni et al (2008) argued that the relationship between TOC concentration and grain size
particles of heavy metals is either exponential or linear. Therefore, it can be concluded that the
relations between Total organic concentrations (TOC) is and grain size heavy metals particles are
linear or exponential.
The distribution of heavy metals under investigation in the research study showed a
variation in the study area. However, most of the heavy metals variations were consistent with
low offshore concentration. Metal concentrations factor was dependent on the fine sediment
removal away from the seashore (Sedgwick, 2005).The distribution of selected heavy material
significantly varied in the surface sediments of EEZ of Qatar. Accumulation of heavy metals in
the marine surface and sediment is mainly through reverie drainage, and land runs off. Although
dust off contributes to heavy metal deposits levels in the sea water, it contributes a very little
percentage of the accumulation. Higher levels of iron metal are found to be highest in all the
samples due to the mining activities that around the sea in Qatar.
The data from this research study will give insight on the pollution effects of heavy
metals distribution to the Qatari society. The impacts of the excess heavy metal contamination
include; loss of land fertility, ecosystem instability, the death of living things through heart, lung,
and brain diseases arising from the uptake of contaminated water. Iron, lead, and aluminum high
levels n marine water area are also fueled by anthropogenic factors such as sewage drainage in
the sea water and industrialization activities of human beings.
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