HEAVY METAL CONCENTRATION OF CHANDIGARH URBAN SOILS DUE TO URBANIZATION IN A CHANGING ENVIRONMENT: AN ECOLOGICAL ASSESSMENTViney Kumar, Rupinder Kaur and A. N. Singh
Incessantly expanding urbanization is severely affecting soil ecosystems across the globe by endlessly loading with contaminants (particularly heavy metal concentrations) which is becoming a major health hazard for human being as well as for vegetation. Many studies, have reported the distribution of heavy metals in the urban soils under different anthropogenic activities world-wide. However, present study was conducted in a well-planned city (Chandigarh) of India that is the only city established with well designed ecological concept and unique architectural planning; therefore, whole urban region of the city is systematically segregated into residential, roadside, industrial and agricultural areas. This urban region can be a reference model for further study in the urban ecology. Therefore, we conducted present study on simple hypothesis that this urban area would be pollution free and no heavy metal concentration will be accumulated in the soils. But in present study, we got surprising results, most of the harmful heavy metals such as Arsenic (As), Chromium (Cr), Nickel (Ni), Copper (Cu), Zinc (Zn) and Lead (Pb) have significantly shown a substantial accumulation of heavy metal concentrations in the soil from permissible limits under selected sites. Although, across sites, industrial areas (1 and 2) exhibited higher range of heavy metal concentrations followed by roadside, residential and agricultural soils, respectively. However, across heavy metals, arsenic has tended a higher concentration of accumulation in the urban soils. Since, arsenic element has been considered as one of the highly toxic metals for humans and plants life, thus, its deposition in more quantity in the urban soil will augment more degree of toxicity with time. Therefore, intensive studies are urgently required to determine the mechanism and its cause of the contamination to curb the problem in urban areas in a changing environment.