Distribution of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Soils within Vicinity of an Electronic Waste Open Burning Workshop in Aba, South East Nigeria

Mark O. Onyema, Chisom M. Obasi, Nkechi H. Okoye, Leo C. Osuji


Electronic waste (e-waste) workshops distributed in the commercial city of Aba, South East Nigeria, employ open burning to extract valuable sub-assemblies from the e-waste. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were studied in soils (0-5 cm) collected from three sampling points within an e-waste workshop vicinity: the e-waste open burning site (OBS-X), 30 m from the open burning site (OBS-30m) and 70 m from the open burning site (OBS-70m). Concentrations of 16 USEPA PAHs in the soils were characterized by dominance of high molecular weight (HMW) over low molecular weight (LMW). The most abundant PAHs were DA 26.45%, IP 13.82% and BbF 13.07% in OBS-X, BaA 19.78%, BbF 17.15% and BaP 16.80% in OBS-30m and Chr 23.73%, BP 14.26% and Nap 8.871% in OBS-70m. Source diagnostic PAH isomer ratios determined are Phe/Ant from 0.73 - 1.36, Fth/Pyr 1.52 - 3.79, BaA/Chr 0.29 - 28.27 and BkF/BaP 0.11 - 1.31. These results from PAH distributions and compositions indicated incomplete combustion source for pyrogenic PAHs in OBS-X and OBS-30m and mix combustion-petroleum source for PAHs in OBS-70m. In conclusion, the open burning of e-waste in Aba metropolis largely contaminated soils from the workshop vicinity, particularly with carcinogenic HMW PAHs.


Aba; composition; diagnostic ratio; e-waste; open burning; PAHs.

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