Heavy metal contamination of the Lami coastal environment, Fiji

Gangaiya, Philomena, Tabudravu, Jioji orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-6930-6572, South, Robin and Sotheeswaran, Subramanium (2001) Heavy metal contamination of the Lami coastal environment, Fiji. The South Pacific Journal of Natural and Applied Sciences, 19 (1). pp. 24-29. ISSN 1838-837X

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1071/SP01005


Contamination of the coastal environment of small island countries is of concern because people's livelihoods in these countries are intimately linked to the resources of the coastal zone. The Lami estuary in Fiji is located downstream of an industrial area and is used extensively for fishing and other recreational activities. Sediment samples from twenty-nine sites within the area were analysed for copper, lead and zinc to determine whether the area is contaminated with heavy metals. Within the estuary, significant enrichment is evident, with heavy metal concentrations exceeding some of those from other known contaminated sites in the country. Although copper contamination appears to be restricted to a few sites within the estuary, contamination with lead and zinc seems to be spreading to areas further away from the shore. Metal distribution patterns clearly indicate adjacent factories to be the main source of contamination. The results show that contrary to popular belief, highly contaminated sites do exist in the relatively pristine coastal environments of island countries like Fiji.

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