Risk assessment of heavy metals and total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPHs) in coastal sediments of commercial and industrial areas of Hormozgan province, Iran

Environ Geochem Health. 2024 Jun 7;46(7):236. doi: 10.1007/s10653-024-01983-8.


The significant increase in the pollution of heavy metals and organic pollutants, their stable nature, and their high toxicity are gradually becoming a global crisis. In a recent study, a comprehensive assessment of the spatial distribution of heavy metals and total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPHs), as well as an assessment of their ecological risks in the sediments of 32 stations located in commercial and industrial areas (Mainly focusing on petrochemical and power industries, desalination plants and transit Ports) of Hormozgan province (East and West of Jask, Bandar Abbas, Qeshm, and Bandar Lengeh) was performed during 2021-2022. The sediment samples were digested with HNO3, HCl and HF solvents. The concentration of heavy metals was determined with furnace and flame systems of atomic absorption spectrometer. The concentration of heavy metals showed significant spatial changes between stations. The ecological assessment indices between the regions indicated that the stations located in Shahid Bahonar Port, Suru Beach, and Khor gorsouzuan had a higher intensity of pollution than other places and significant risks of pollution, especially in terms of Cr and Ni. The average contamination degree (CD) (14.89), modified contamination degree (MCD) (2.48), pollution load index (PLI) (2.32), and potential ecological risk index (PERI) (100.30) showed the sediments in the area of Shahid Bahonar Port, Suru beach and Khor gorsouzuan, experience significant to high levels of pollution, especially Cr and Ni. Using contamination factor (CF) and Geoaccumulation index (Igeo), Cr was considered the most dangerous metal in the studied areas. Based on the global classification of marine sediment quality for the concentrations of TPHs, the sediments of the studied stations were classified as non-polluted to low pollution. In all regions, indices of the PELq (General toxicity) and CF (Contamination factor) were much lower than 0.1 and 1 respectively, showing the absence of adverse biological effects caused by TPHs in sediments. It is necessary to consider comprehensive and impressive strategies to control and reduce pollution of heavy metals, especially in the areas of Shahid Bahonar Port, Suru Beach, and Khor gorsouzuan, so that the sources of this pollution are required to be identified and managed.

Keywords: Ecological risk indices; Heavy metals; Oman Sea; Persian Gulf; Spatial distribution; TPHs.

MeSH terms

  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Geologic Sediments* / analysis
  • Geologic Sediments* / chemistry
  • Hydrocarbons* / analysis
  • Iran
  • Metals, Heavy* / analysis
  • Petroleum Pollution / analysis
  • Petroleum* / analysis
  • Risk Assessment
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical* / analysis


  • Metals, Heavy
  • Hydrocarbons
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Petroleum