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Assessment of soil heavy metal pollution and associated ecological risk of agriculture dominated mid-channel bars in a subtropical river basin
, Abu Reza Md. Towfiqul Islam,

The elevated concentrations of heavy metals in soil considerably threaten ecological and human health. To this end, the present study assesses metals pollution and its threat to ecology from the mid-channel bar’s (char) agricultural soil in the Damodar River basin, India. For this, the contamination factor (CF), enrichment factor (EF), geoaccumulation index (Igeo), pollution index, and ecological risk index (RI) were measured on 60 soil samples at 30 stations (2 from each station, i.e., surface and sub-surface) in different parts of the mid-channel bar. The CF and EF indicate that both levels of char soil have low contamination and hence portray a higher potential for future enrichment by heavy metals. Moreover, Igeo portrays that soil samples are uncontaminated to moderately contaminated. Further, pollution indices indicate that all the samples (both levels) are unpolluted with a mean of 0.062 for surface soils and 0.048 for sub-surface soils. Both levels of the char have a low potentiality for ecological risk with an average RI of 0.20 for the surface soils and 0.19 for the sub-surface soils. Moreover, Technique for order preference by similarity to ideal solution (TOPSIS) indicates that the sub-surface soils have lower pollution than the surface soils. The geostatistical modeling reveals that the simple kriging technique was estimated as the most appropriate interpolation model. The present investigation exhibits that reduced heavy metal pollution is due to the sandy nature of soils and frequent flooding. However, the limited pollution is revealed due to the intensive agricultural practices on riverine chars. Therefore, this would be helpful to regional planners, agricultural engineers, and stakeholders in a basin area.

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Scientific Reports
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