Distribution and provenance of heavy metals in sediments of the Vrbas River, Bosnia and Herzegovina Scientific paper

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Sanja Pržulj
Ana Radojičić
Milica Kašanin-Grubin
Dušica Pešević
Sanja Stojadinović
Branimir Jovančićević
Gorica Veselinović


Heavy metals are naturally occurring elements, but they are regarded as significant environmental pollutants due to their high density and high toxicity even at low concentrations. The aim of this paper is the evaluation of the pollution level of heavy metals in the river and riverbank sediments, as well as the estimation of their origin and spatial differences along the course of the Vrbas River through Banja Luka. The concentrations of metals have been assessed using the Inductively coupled plasma – optical emission spectrometry and Advanced mercury analyzer for mercury determination. The anthropogenic impact on heavy metal concentration in sediments was estimated by the cal­culating of pol­lution indices: geoaccumulation index (Igeo), contamination fac­tor (Cf), pollution load index (PLI) and potential ecological risk index (Er). Obtained results indicate that there is no statistically significant spatial differ­ence in metal concentration, indicating that heavy metals in sediments have a constant source. The anthropogenic impact expressed by the values of pollution indices showed that sites are generally uncontaminated by Co, Cr and V and mode­ra­tely contaminated by Zn, Cu and Ni. On the contrary, lead, mercury and cadmium pose the highest ecological risk. The anthropogenic source of Pb, Hg and Cd is industry, municipal waste and the combustion of fossil fuels. The obtained results demonstrate the high ecological risk and the need for environ­mental monitoring, with the aim to support an efficient strategy to reduce local pollution and contamination of the investigated system.


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How to Cite
S. Pržulj, “Distribution and provenance of heavy metals in sediments of the Vrbas River, Bosnia and Herzegovina: Scientific paper”, J. Serb. Chem. Soc., vol. 87, no. 4, pp. 519–530, Oct. 2021.
Environmental Chemistry

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