Assessment of heavy metals contamination at Cape Town landfill sites

05 Nov 2020

Heavy metals (HM) contents of municipal solid waste (MSW) are of immense concern in their management and disposal system around the world. Landfilling (and in worse case dumping) remains the preferred disposal method for MSW in majority of Africa countries. Consequently, the HMs, also found in household, medical and industrial waste, ends up in landfills and dumpsites. Over time, if not properly managed, these metals present a contamination risk to the nearby soil, ground and surface water, as well as the biodiversity that depends on these resources; this may contaminate the food chain. This paper reported the spatial distribution of heavy metal concentrations in the topsoil from Cape Town landfill sites using the Inductively-Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectrometry (ICP-OES). The results show that the concentrations of the heavy metals found decreases with distance from the landfill sites except for Cd which have the concentration to be high close to the road. Recommendations on proper management and monitoring systems of the existing waste sites that will limit the exposure of the populations to these elements were made