210Pb dating to investigate the historical variations and identification of different sources of heavy metal pollution in sediments of the Pearl River Estuary, Southern China

Zhiping Ye, Jianyao Chen, Lei Gao, Zuobing Liang, Shaoheng Li, Rui Li, Guangzhe Jin, Yuta Shimizu, Shin ichi Onodera, Mitsuyo Saito, Gnanachandrasamy Gopalakrishnan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In this study, we investigated the historical variation, source identification, and distribution of heavy metal pollution in sediments of the Pearl River Estuary (PRE) using 210Pb dating. Our results suggest that the heavy metal concentrations were higher in the western part of the estuary. For all heavy metals, Cd was significantly enriched in the sediments. The Pearl River Delta (PRD) has experienced rapid economic development in the past 40 years, a decreasing trend in heavy metal fluxes after 2004 was identified, which suggests a reduction in heavy metal concentrations due to the removal of heavy polluting industries and the effective control of sewage discharge. A binary mixing model reveals that the contributions of anthropogenic Pb ranged from 45.4 to 64%. Based on lead isotopic ratios (206/207Pb and 208/206Pb), it was found that geologic materials and industrial pollution were the main sources of heavy metals in the PRE sediments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110670
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020



  • Heavy metal
  • Lead isotopes
  • Pearl river estuary
  • Sediment
  • Temporal change

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Pollution

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