Assessment and source identification of pollution risk for touristic ports: Heavy metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in sediments of 4 marinas of the Apulia region (Italy)

Mar Pollut Bull. 2017 Jan 30;114(2):768-777. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2016.10.063. Epub 2016 Nov 7.


The Apulia region in Italy has the longest Adriatic coastline; thus, maritime tourism is the driving force for its economic development. Pollution risk for four representative touristic ports of the region was assessed by determining the concentrations of 10 metals, 16 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) congeners, and the main nutrients. The cumulative mean Effects Range-Median quotient (mERMq) was used to assess the hazard degree, while the distribution patterns and content ratios of different PAH sediment concentrations were investigated to identify the pollution sources. Principal component analyses indicated an anomalous pollution trend for one of the small touristic ports assessed; this trend emerged from contamination by heavy metals and PAHs to a larger extent than expected, considering the main activity in this port, especially in its inner basin. The reason of this anomaly is thought to be the hydrodynamic and/or other stress factors.

Keywords: Cumulative indices; Hazard degree; Heavy metals; PAHs; Port sediment; Touristic port.

MeSH terms

  • Environmental Monitoring / methods*
  • Geologic Sediments / analysis
  • Geologic Sediments / chemistry*
  • Italy
  • Metals, Heavy / analysis*
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons / analysis*
  • Recreation*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis*


  • Metals, Heavy
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical