Urban soil is an important component of urban ecosystems. This study focuses on heavy metal contamination in soils of Wien (Austria) and results are compared to those for a few large European cities. We analysed the elemental contents of 96 samples of topsoil from urban, suburban and rural areas in Wien along a dynamic (floodplain forest) and a stable (oak-hornbeam forest) urbanization gradient. The following elements were quantified using ICP-OES technique: Al, As, Ba, Ca, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, K, Mg, Mn, Pb, P, S and Zn. For heavy metals PI (pollution index) values were used to assess the level of pollution. The PI values indicated high level of pollution by Pb in the suburban and rural area of stable gradient and in the urban area of dynamic gradient; moderate level of pollution was indicated for Cd in the urban area of stable gradient. The level of pollution was moderate for Co in the suburban and rural area of the stable gradient, and for Cu in suburban area of stable gradient, and urban area of dynamic gradient. The pollution level of Zn was moderate in all areas. Urban soils, especially in urban parks and green areas may have a direct influence on human health. Thus, the elemental analysis of soil samples is one of the best ways to study the effects of urbanization. Our results indicated that the heavy metal contamination was higher in Wien than in a few large European cities.
- Heavy metals
- Pollution index
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Chemistry
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis