Reconstruction of past metal pollution and sources from the sediments of Bukit Merah Reservoir (BMR), Perak, Malaysia

Author(s): Simeon Akogwu
Email (s):
Institution or organization of origin: Universiti Sains Malaysia
Country: Malaysia


Human pressure especially agricultural activities, tourism and other land use forms have significantly intensified in the catchment area of Bukit Merah Lake since the 1980s. This intensification has resulted in severe pollution and sedimentation levels. However, there is little or no information regarding the past environment change of the lake. Hence, this research was conducted to reconstruct the past metal pollution history in the sediment of the BMR. Two sediment cores (BMR1 and BMR2) were retrieved from the lake using Uwitech corer. Sediment chronologies were determined using 210Pb sediment dating techniques. Sediment chemical and physical properties were established.

Enrichment factor (EF) and contamination factor (CF) were calculated to establish metal enrichment of the lake. 210Pb depth profile showed that BMR1 extended back to 34years. Metal pollution showed that As lowest concentrations occurred in 1980’s and the highest concentrations in 2016 and 2018.The lowest and highest concentrations of Pb and Cd were detected in 1990s and 2009 respectively. Cu and Zn peaked in 2012, and were significantly positively correlated (r= 0.92, p=0.01), indicating common origin of these metals. The mean EF in the sediment core were established and, in the order of As=Pb=Cd=Cu=Zn=0.1 suggesting that all the metals in BMR originated from in-lake activity or natural sources (EF<1). CF values ranged from low to moderate for As, Pb, and Cu, moderate for Cd and low to moderate for Zn. Overall, the dated sediment from BMR showed archived historical events which reflects the impact of human activities.

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