Spatial distribution of heavy metal abundance at distance gradients of roadside agricultural soil from the busiest highway in Bangladesh: A multi-index integration approach

Environ Res. 2024 Jun 1:250:118551. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2024.118551. Epub 2024 Feb 24.


Bangladesh is currently experiencing significant infrastructural development in road networking system through the construction or reconstruction of multiple roads and highways. Consequently, there is a rise in traffic intensity on roads and highways, along with a significant contamination of adjacent agricultural soils with heavy metals. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the ecological risk, health risk and the abundance of seven heavy metals (Cu, Mn, Pb, Cd, Cr, As, and Ni) in three distance gradients (0, 300, and 500 m) of agricultural soil along the Dhaka-Chattogram highway. The concentration of heavy metals was measured with an Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer (AAS) on a total of 36 soil samples that were taken from 12 different sampling sites. Based on the findings, Cd had a high contamination factor for all distance gradients, whereas Cr had a moderate contamination factor in 67% of the study areas. According to the Pollution Load Index (PLI), Cd, Cr, and Pb were the predominant pollutants. Principal component analysis (PCA) result shows these metals mainly came from anthropogenic sources. The considerable positive correlations between Cu-Pb, Cu-Cd, Pb-Cd, and Cr-Ni all pointed to shared anthropogenic origins. As per Potential Ecological Risk Assessment (PERI) analysis, Pb, Cd, Cr, and Ni each contribute significantly and pose a moderate threat. The Target Hazard Quotient (THQ) values for all pathways of exposure to Pb and Cr in soils were more than 1, which would pose a significant risk to human health in the following order: THQadult female > THQadult male > THQchildren. This study will help to evaluate the human health risk and develop a better understanding of the heavy metal abundance scenario in the agricultural fields adjacent to this highway.

Keywords: Bangladesh; Dhaka-chattogram highway; Ecological risk assessment; Health risk assessment; Heavy metal abundance; Roadside agricultural soil.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Agriculture
  • Bangladesh
  • Child
  • Environmental Monitoring* / methods
  • Humans
  • Metals, Heavy* / analysis
  • Risk Assessment
  • Soil / chemistry
  • Soil Pollutants* / analysis