Heavy metal pollution in soils along the major road networks: A case study from Rawalpindi

Paper Details

Research Paper 01/10/2016
Views (283) Download (7)

Heavy metal pollution in soils along the major road networks: A case study from Rawalpindi

Aasma Bibi, Sofia Khalid, Khanorangah Achakzai
J. Bio. Env. Sci.9( 4), 141-148, October 2016.
Certificate: JBES 2016 [Generate Certificate]


Transportation is an important component of development and on-road transportation is the most essential and frequently used one. Apart from many services provided by the transport sector, it equally contributes to environmental pollution and is therefore considered as one of the significant sources of environmental pollution, posing various threats to the environment, human health and global climate. This study was an attempt to carry out an assessment of six heavy metals: Cu, Pb, Cr, Cd, Ni and Zn in the soil samples collected from different sites along the major road networks in Rawalpindi city, i.e. Murree Road, Islamabad Expressway, Grand Trunk Road and Rashid Minhas Road. After analyzing the heavy metals in the collected soil samples, various indices were computed in order to evaluate the impacts of heavy metal pollution and to categorize each site according to the traffic induced pollution burden, the indices computed were: contamination factor (CF), pollution load index (PLI) and integrated pollution index. The results indicated the contamination trend to be in the order: Murree Road > Grand Trunk Road > Islamabad Expressway > Rashid Minhas Road. The comparison of the results obtained for the samples collected from roadsides with those collected from the controlled site i.e. Morgah Biodiversity Park, showed that the greater pollution level along the roadsides may be due to the traffic loads on these roads.


Abbas F, Ahmad A, Shafeeq M, Ali S, Saleem F, Hammad, Farhad W. 2013. Changes in precipitation extremes over arid to semiarid and sub humid Punjab, Pakistan. Theoretical Appications of Climatology.

Agrawal M. 2005. Effects of air pollution on agriculture: An issue of national concern. National Academy Science Letters 28, 93-106.

Ahmad SS, Buker P, Emberson L, Shabbir R. 2011. Monitoring nitrogen dioxide levels in urban areas in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Water, Air and Soil Pollution 220(1-4), 141-150.

Akoto O, Ephraim JH, Darko G. 2008. Heavy metal pollution in surface soils in the vicinity of abundant railway servicing workshop in Kumasi, Ghana. International Journal of Environmental Research 2(4), 359-364.

Ali M, Athar M. 2008. Air pollution due to traffic, air quality monitoring along three sections of National Highway N-5, Pakistan. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 136, 219-226.

Al-Khashman OA. 2004. Heavy metal distribution in dust, street dust and soils from the work place in Karak Industrial Estate, Jordan. Atmospheric Environment 38, 6803-6812.

Alloway JB. 1995. Soil pollution and land contamination. In: Harrison RM (Ed). Pollution: Causes, effects and control. The Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge.

Bailly H. 1997. Environmental Issues in the Energy Sector in Pakistan.

Bowen HJM. 1979. Environmental chemistry of the elements. London, Academic Press.

Economic Survey 200910. Transport and Communications. Ministry of Finance, Pakistan. Available at: http://www.finance.gov.pk/survey/cha-pter_10/14_Transport.pdf

Ehi-Eromosele CO, Adaramodu AA, Anake WU, Ajanaku CO, Edobor-Osoh A. 2012. Comparison of Three Methods of Digestion for Trace Metal Analysis in Surface Dust Collected from an E-waste Recycling Site. Nature and Science 10(10), 42-47.

Elik A. 2003. Heavy metal accumulation in street dust samples in Sivas. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis 34, 145-156.

Faiz Y, Tufail M, Javed MT, Chaudhry MM, Siddique N. 2009. Road dust pollution of Cd, Cu, Ni, Pb and Zn along Islamabd Expressway, Pakistan. Microchemical Journal 92, 186-192.

Forstner U, Wittmann GTW. 1983. Metal pollution in the aquatic environment, Berlin. Springer-Verlag 30-61.

Gajghate DG, Hassan MZ. 1999. Ambient lead levels in urban areas. Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 62, 403-408.

George E, Rolf S, John R. 2013. Methods of Soil, Plant, and Water Analysis: A manual for the West Asia and North Africa region. International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA). Available at: www.icarda.org.

Government of Pakistan 1999. District census report of Islamabad. Population census organization. Statistics Division. Census Publication Report No. 16, Government of Pakistan, Islamabad.

Gravano E, Gilnlietti V, Desotgiu R, Bussotti F, Grossoni P, Gerosa G, Tani C. 2003. Foliar response of an Ailanthus altissima clone in two sites with different levels of ozone-pollution. Environmental Pollution 121(1), 137-146.

Han L, Zhuang G, Cheng S, Wang Y, Li J. 2007. Characteristics of re-suspended road dust and its impact on the atmospheric environment in Beijing. Atmospheric Environment 41, 7485-7499.

Husain T. 2010. Pakistan’s Energy Sector Issues: Energy Efficiency and Energy Environmental Links. The Lahore Journal of Economics 15, 33-59.

Joshi SR, Kumar R, Bhagobaty RK, Thokchom S. 2010. Impact of pollution on microbial activities in sub-tropical forest soil of north east India. Research Journal of Environmental Sciences 4(3), 280-287.

Lagerwerff JV, Specht AW. 1970. Contamination of roadside soil and vegetation with Cd, Ni, Pb, and Zn. Environmental Science and Technology 4, 583-586.

Li X, Poon CS, Liu PS. 2001. Heavy metal contamination of urban soils and street dusts in Hong Kong. Applied Geochemistry 16, 1361-1368.

Liu H, Probst A, Liao B. 2005. Metal contamination of soils and crops affected by the Chenzhou lead/zinc mine spill (Hunan, China). Science of the Total Environment 339, 153-166.

Lopez JM, Callen MS, Murillo R, Garcia T, Navarro MV, De la Cruz MT, Mastral AM, 2005. Levels of selected metals in ambient air PM10 in an urban site of Zaragoza (Spain). Environmental Research 99, 58-67.

Lu X, Wanga L, Lei K, Huang J, Zhai Y. 2009. Contamination assessment of copper, lead, zinc, manganese and nickel in street dust of Baoji, NW, China. Journal of Hazardous Materials 161, 1058-1062.

Mage D, Ozolins G, Peterson P, Webster A, Orthofer R, Vandeweered V. 1996. Urban air pollution in megacities of the world. Atmospheric Environment 30, 681-686.

Malik RN, Husain SZ, Nazir I. 2010. Heavy Metal Contamination and Accumulation in Soil and Wild Plant Species from Industrial Area of Islamabad, Pakistan. Pakistan Journal of Botany 42(1), 291-301.

Mayer H. 1999. Air pollution in cities. Atmospheric Environment 3, 3029-4037.

Mmolawa KB, Likuku AS, Gaboutloeloe GK. 2011. Assessment of heavy metal pollution in soils along major roadside areas in Botswana. African Journal of Environmental Science and Technology 5(3), 186-196.

Muller G. 1969. Index of geoaccumulation in sediments of the Rhine River. Geology Journal 2(3), 108-118.

Pagotto C, Rèmy N, Legret M, Le Cloirec P. 2001. Heavy metal pollution on road dust and roadside soil near a major rural highway. Environmental Technology 22, 307-319.

Russell AM, Lee KL. 2005. Co and Ni: Structure–property Relations in Nonferrous Metals, Wiley Inter Science, Inc: John Wiley & Sons, 2005. doi:10.1002/ 0471708542.ch16.

Sabiha-Javied, Mehmood T, Chaudhry MM, Tufail M, Irfan N. 2009. Heavy metal pollution from phosphate rock used for the production of fertilizer in Pakistan. Microchemical Journal 91, 94-99.

Sadhu K, Adhikari K, Gangopadhyay A. 2012. Assessment of Heavy Metal Contamination of Soil In and Around Open Cast Mines of Raniganj Area, India. International Journal of Environmental Engineering Research 1(2), 77-85.

Sezgin N, Ozcan HK, Demir G, Nemlioglu S, Bayat C. 2003. Determination of heavy metal concentrations in street dusts in Istanbul E-5 highway. Environment International 29, 979-985.

Shabbir R, Erum S, Khalid S. 2014. Soil and Vegetation Analysis of Selected Roadside Greenbelts in Rawalpindi City, Pakistan. International Research Journal of Biological Sciences 3(3), 89-98.

Thomilson DC, Wilson DJ, Harris CR, Jeffrey DW. 1980. Problem in heavy metals in estuaries and the formation of pollution index. Helgol. Wiss. Meeresunlter 33(1-4), 566-575.

Turekian KK, Wedepohl KH. 1961. Distribution of the elements in some major units of the earth’s crust. Geological society of America Bulletin 72(2), 175-192.

US Air Force. 1990. Copper: The Installation Program Toxicology Guide, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, United States Air Force, Ohio 5, 771-843.

Varrica D, Dongarra G, Sabatino G, Monna F. 2003. Inorganic geochemistry of roadway dust from the metropolitan of Palermo, Italy. Environmental Geology 44, 222-230.