Source emissions and climate change impacts on the multimedia transport and fate of persistent organic pollutants, Chaohu watershed, eastern China

Shuai Song , Xianghui Cao , Shouliang Huo , Hanxiao Zhang , Jiaqi Zheng , Zhuoshi He , Chunzi Ma


Received January 05, 2021,Revised , Accepted February 27, 2021, Available online March 11, 2021

Volume 33,2021,Pages 15-25

Emission intensity and climate change control the transport flux and fate of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in multiple environmental compartments. This study applied a multimedia model (BETR model) to explore alternations in the spatio-temporal trends of concentrations and transport flux of benzopyrene (BaP), phenanthrene (Phe), perfluorooctane sulfonates (PFOS) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the Chaohu watershed, located in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River, China in response to changes in source emissions and climate. The potential historic and future risks of these pollutants also were assessed. The results suggest that current trends in concentrations and transport were similar to that of their emissions between 2005 and 2018. During the next 100 years, temporal trends and spatial patterns were not predicted to change significantly, which is consistent with climate change. Based on sensitivity and correlation analyses, climate change had significant effects on multi-media concentrations and transport fluxes of BaP, Phe, PFOS and PCBs, and rainfall intensity was the predominant controlling factor. Risk quotients (RQs) of BaP and Phe-in soil increased from 0.42 to 0.95 and 0.06 to 0.35, respectively, from 2005 to 2090, indicating potential risks. The RQs of the other examined contaminants exhibited little potential risk in soil, water, or sediment. Based on spatial patterns, it was inferred that the ecosystem around Lake Chaohu is the most at risk. The study provides insights needed for local pollution control of POPs in the Chaohu watershed. In addition, the developed approach can be applied to other watersheds world-wide.

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