Organic contamination of surface sediments in the metropolitan coastal zone of Athens, Greece: sources, degree, and ecological risk

Mar Pollut Bull. 2014 Mar 15;80(1-2):312-24. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2013.12.051. Epub 2014 Jan 9.


Bottom sediments represent a crucial component of the marine environment, since they constitute a habitat, a trophic resource, and a spawning place for various organisms. Unfortunately, the sediments of urban coastal areas are deeply impacted by anthropogenic activities that degrade their quality. In the Drapetsona-Keratsini metropolitan coastal zone of Athens, current industrial and shipping activities together with the effluents from a sewage outfall, which was in operation in the past, have resulted in one of the most contaminated sedimentary environments, in terms of organic compound loads, in Mediterranean. Exceptionally high concentrations of aliphatic hydrocarbons (up to 4457 μg g⁻¹), carcinogenic PAHs (up to 7284 ng g⁻¹), and organochlorines (up to 544 ng g⁻¹ for PCBs; up to 208 ng g⁻¹ for DDTs) constitute a major threat to the marine life of the associated Saronikos Gulf.

Keywords: Contamination sources; Marine sediments; Organic contamination; Sediment quality guidelines; Urban coastal area.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cities
  • Ecosystem
  • Environmental Monitoring*
  • Geologic Sediments / chemistry*
  • Greece
  • Hydrocarbons, Chlorinated / analysis
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls / analysis
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons / analysis
  • Risk Assessment
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis*


  • Hydrocarbons, Chlorinated
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls