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You are here: Home » Latest Issue » Volume 12, 2017 - Number 2 » ECO-MONITORING OF GEORGIA’S CONTAMINATED SOIL AND WATER WITH HEAVY METALS


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Guranda AVKOPASHVILI, Marika AVKOPASHVILI, Alexander GONGADZE & Ramaz GAKHOKIDZE
Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, Chavchavadze ave 1. Tbilisi, Georgia, e-mail: gurandi19@gmail.com


ECO-MONITORING OF GEORGIA’S CONTAMINATED SOIL AND WATER WITH HEAVY METALS

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Abstract:

Mining and related industrial activities facilitate development and modernization in many countries but have also resulted in serious ecological impacts. This research focuses on environmental monitoring of major gold, copper and manganese mining regions in the country of Georgia. Mineral extraction processes have caused several environmental problems, including metal contamination in nearby agricultural areas. The study is located at a major confluence of the Mashavera (Bolnisi district) and Kvirila Rivers in the Chiatura and Zestaponi districts in Georgia, respectively. In the Bolnisi region the existing mineral deposits are sulfide ores. Open-pit mining results in deposition of metal-loaded dust up to 25 km away. Ore extraction is conducted via controlled explosions that cause the discharge of metal-containing dust, which ultimately is deposited on the soil via wet and dry processes. Monitoring commenced in 2010 and this is the first study of environmental impacts in this region. Soil samples from ten villages in the area, water samples from the Mashavera River and tributaries were collected and analyzed. Additional samples were collected in 2012, 2013, and 2014. The results show that soil and water samples have elevated levels of Cd, Zn and Cu, which vary depending on the geographic proximity of the samples to the primary mining activities. The Mashavera River also has elevated levels of metals, likely due to mining waste. River water is heavily used for irrigation and thus further impacts on the population in the region through consumption of agricultural food products.



Keyword: eco-monitoring, water and soil, heavy metals, contamination, Georgia.


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