Occurrence and source of PAHs in Miankaleh International Wetland in Iran Journal Articles uri icon

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  • We examined the occurrence and sources of 16 priority PAHs in the water and sediment samples of the Miankaleh Wetland (Coastal Biosphere Reserve), famous for harbouring huge flocks of migrating birds. The water and sediment samples collected from various locations were visualized and processed using a self-organizing map, positive matrix factorization and GIS. All the sediment samples, and >90% of the water samples, showed some degree of PAHs contamination. Higher PAH levels occur near the Chopoghi Channel, powerplants, sewage outfalls, and near fishing operations. Compared with previous study in this area, the PAHs concentration in the sediments of aquatic ecosystem of Miankaleh Wetland is increasing. The levels of PAH contamination seem too low to account for the mass deaths of migratory birds, and botulinus contamination seems the likely cause. Fugacity calculations show that the sediments act as a sink for PAHs. According to PMF and SOM analyses, three origins of PAHs were recognized: (i) fossil fuel and vehicular emissions with high-molecular weight PAHs (4-5 ring); (ii) municipal and industrial sewages characterized by low-molecular weight PAHs (2-3 ring) typical of petrogenic sources; and (iii) port activity characterized by prevalence of petrogenic influence and petroleum-related activities (combustion PAHs and low-molecular weight PAHs) consistent with port activity. This wetland needs serious attention because of continuous input of pollutants. The results and the methods used in this study may assist in improving coastal wetlands management.


  • Rokhbar, Mahsa
  • Keshavarzi, Behnam
  • Moore, Farid
  • Zarei, Mehdi
  • Hooda, Peter S
  • Risk, Michael John

publication date

  • April 2023