Use of statistical and GIS techniques to assess and predict concentrations of heavy metals in soils of Lahore City, Pakistan

  • Nayab Alam
  • Sajid Rashid Ahmad
  • Abdul Qadir
  • Muhammad Imran Ashraf
  • Calvin Lakhan
  • V. Chris Lakhan


Soils from different land use areas in Lahore City, Pakistan, were analyzed for concentrations of heavy metals—cadmium (Cd), chromium (Cr), nickel (Ni), and lead (Pb). One hundred one samples were randomly collected from six land use areas categorized as park, commercial, agricultural, residential, urban, and industrial. Each sample was analyzed in the laboratory with the tri-acid digestion method. Metal concentrations in each sample were obtained with the use of an atomic absorption spectrophotometer. The statistical techniques of analysis of variance, correlation analysis, and cluster analysis were used to analyze all data. In addition, kriging, a geostatistical procedure supported by ArcGIS, was used to model and predict the spatial concentrations of the four heavy metals—Cd, Cr, Ni, and Pb. The results demonstrated significant correlation among the heavy metals in the urban and industrial areas. The dendogram, and the results associated with the cluster analysis, indicated that the agricultural, commercial, and park areas had high concentrations of Cr, Ni, and Pb. High concentrations of Cd and Ni were also observed in the residential and industrial areas, respectively. The maximum concentrations of both Cd and Pb exceeded world toxic limit values. The kriging method demonstrated increasing spatial diffusion of both Cd and Pb concentrations throughout and beyond the Lahore City area.


Lahore City Heavy metals Correlation and cluster analyses Geographical information system Kriging 


  1. Adriano, D. C. (2003). Trace elements in terrestrial environments: biogeochemistry, bioavailability and risks of metals (2nd ed.). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  2. Ali, Z., Kazi, A. G., Malik, R. N., Naz, M., Khan, T., Hayat, Z., & Kazi, A. M. (2015). Heavy metal built-up in agricultural soils of Pakistan: sources, ecological consequences, and possible remediation measures. In I. Sherameti & A. Varma (Eds.), Heavy metal contamination of soils (pp. 23–42). Switzerland: Springer International. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-14526-6-2.Google Scholar
  3. Alloway, B. J. (1995). Heavy metals in soils. Glasgow: Blackie Academic and Professional. 368p.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Campbell, P. G. C. (2006). Cadmium-A priority pollutant. Environmental Chemistry, 3(6), 387–388.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. CEM Corporation. (2012). Microwave accelerated reaction system. North Carolina: Matthews.Google Scholar
  6. Cheng, J., Shi, Z., & Zhu, Y. (2007). Assessment and mapping of environmental quality in agricultural soils of Zhejiang Province, China. Journal of Environmental Sciences, 19, 50–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. De Vries, W., Romkens, P. F., & Schutze, G. (2007). Critical soil concentrations of cadmium, lead, and mercury in view of health effects on humans and animals. Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 191, 91–130.Google Scholar
  8. ESRI. (2002). ArcView 3.1 software. Redlands: Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI).Google Scholar
  9. ESRI. (2005). ArcGIS 9.1 software. Redlands: Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI).Google Scholar
  10. Ghauri, B., Lodhi, A., & Mansha, M. (2007). Development of baseline (air quality) data in Pakistan. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 127, 237–252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gjoka, F., Henningsen, P. F., Wegener, H. R., Salillari, I., & Beqiraj, A. (2011). Heavy metals in soils from Tirana (Albania). Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 172(1–4), 517–527.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Godt, J., Scheidig, F., & Grosse-Siestrup, et al. (2006). The toxicity of cadmium and resulting hazards for human health. Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology, 1, article 22.Google Scholar
  13. GWRTAC. (1997). Remediation of metals-contaminated soils and groundwater. Technical Report TE-97-01. GWRTAC-E-Series. Pittsburgh: GWRTAC.Google Scholar
  14. Hani, A., & Pazira, E. (2011). Heavy metals assessment and identification of their sources in agricultural soils of Southern Tehran, Iran. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 176(1–4), 677–691.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. IARC (2006). IARC Monographs on the evaluation of carcinogenic risks to humans. Vol. 87. Inorganic and organic lead compounds. International Agency for Research on Cancer.Google Scholar
  16. IARC (2012). A review of human carcinogens: metals, arsenic, fibres and dusts. Vol. 100C. International Agency for Research on Cancer: Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans.Google Scholar
  17. Ikenaka, Y., Nakayama, S. M. M., Muzandu, K., Choongo, K., Teraoka, H., Mizuno, N., & Ishizuka, M. (2010). Heavy metal contamination of soil and sediment in Zambia. African Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, 4(11), 729–739.Google Scholar
  18. Iram, S., Ahmad, I., Javed, B., Yaqoob, S., Akhtar, K., Kazmi, M., & Rand Zaman, B. (2009). Fungal tolerance to heavy metals. Pakistan Journal of Botany, 41(5), 2583–2594.Google Scholar
  19. Kabata-Pendias, A., & Pendias, H. (2001). Trace metals in soils and plants (2nd ed.). Boca Raton: CRC.Google Scholar
  20. Khan, A., Javid, S., Muhmood, A., Mjeed, T., Niaz, A., Majeed, A., et al. (2013). Heavy metal status of soil and vegetables grown on peri-urban area of Lahore district. Soil and Environment, 32(1), 49–54.Google Scholar
  21. Khan, S., Cao, Q., Zheng, Y. M., Huang, Y. Z., & Zhu, Y. G. (2008). Health risks of heavy metals in contaminated soils and food crops irrigated with wastewater in Beijing, China. Environmental Pollution, 152(3), 686–692.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Khan, S., Rehman, S., Khan, A. Z., Khan, M. A., & Shah, M. T. (2010). Soil and vegetables enrichment with heavy metals from geological sources in Gilgit, northern Pakistan. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, 73(7), 1820–1827.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kuang, C., Neumann, T., Norra, S., & Stüben, D. (2004). Land use-related chemical composition of street sediments in Beijing. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 11(2), 73–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lacatusu, R. (2000). Appraising levels of soil contamination and pollution with heavy metals. European Soil Bureau Research Report Number 4, Section 5(7): 393–403. The European Soil Bureau, Joint Research Centre.Google Scholar
  25. Lakhan, V. C., Cabana, K., & LaValle, P. D. (2002). Heavy metal concentrations in surficial sediments from accreting and eroding areas along the coast of Guyana. Environmental Geology, 42, 73–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lee, C. S., Li, X., Shi, W., Cheung, S. C., & Thornton, I. (2006). Metal contamination in urban, suburban, and country park soils of Hong Kong: a study based on GIS and multivariate statistics. Science of the Total Environment, 356, 45–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Liu, X., Wu, J., & Xu, J. (2006). Characterizing the risk assessment of heavy metals and sampling uncertainty analysis in paddy field by geostatistics and GIS. Environmental Pollution, 141, 257–264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Malik, R. N., Jadoon, W. A., & Husain, S. (2010). Metal contamination of surface soils of industrial city Sialkot, Pakistan: a multivariate and GIS approach. Environmental Geochemistry and Health, 32(3), 179–191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Manahan, S. E. (2003). Toxicological chemistry and biochemistry (3rd ed.). London: CRC Press.Google Scholar
  30. Manta, D. S., Angelone, M., Bellanca, A., Neri, R., & Sprovieri, M. (2002). Heavy metals in urban soils: a case study from the city of Palermo (Sicily), Italy. Science of the Total Environment, 300, 229–243.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Markus, J. A., & Mcbratney, A. B. (1996). An urban soil study: heavy metals in Glebe, Australia. Soil Research, 34, 453–465.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. McGrath, S. P. (1995). Chromium and nickel. In B. J. Alloway (Ed.), Heavy metals in soils (2nd ed., pp. 152–178). London: Blackie Academic & Professional.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Micó, C., Recatalá, L., Peris, M., & Sánchez, J. (2006). Assessing heavy metal sources in agricultural soils of a European Mediterranean area by multivariate analysis. Chemosphere, 65, 863–872.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Miguel, E., Llamas, J. F., Chacón, E., Berg, T., Larssen, S., Røyset, O., & Vadset, M. (1997). Origin and patterns of distribution of trace elements in street dust: unleaded petrol and urban lead. Atmospheric Environment, 31(17), 2733–2740.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Mudgal, V., Madaan, N., Mudgal, A., Singh, R., & Mishra, S. (2010). Effect of toxic metals on human health. Open Nutraceuticals Journal, 3, 94–99.Google Scholar
  36. NSC. (2009). Lead poisoning. Itasca: National Safety Council. Scholar
  37. Parizanganeh, A., Lakhan, V. C., Jalalian, H., & Ahmad, S. R. (2008). Contamination of nearshore surficial sediments from the Iranian coast of the Caspian Sea. Soil and Sediment Contamination: An International Journal, 17(1), 19–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Peris, M., Recatalá, L., Micó, C., Sánchez, R., & Sánchez, J. (2008). Increasing the knowledge of heavy metal contents and sources in agricultural soils of the European Mediterranean Region. Water, Air, & Soil Pollution, 192(1–4), 25–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Perveen, S., Samad, A., Nazif, W., & Shah, S. (2012). Impact of sewage water on vegetables quality with respect to heavy metals in Peshawar, Pakistan. Pakistan Journal of Botany, 44(6), 1923–1931.Google Scholar
  40. Qiao, M., Cai, C., Huang, Y., Liu, Y., Lin, A., & Zheng, Y. (2011). Characterization of soil heavy metal contamination and potential health risk in metropolitan region of northern China. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 172(1–4), 353–365.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Rattigan, O. V., Mirza, M. I., Ghauri, B. M., Khan, A. R., Swami, K., Yang, K., et al. (2002). Aerosol sulfate and trace elements in urban fog. Energy and Fuels, 16, 640–646.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Saif, M. S., Midrar-Ul-Haq, & Memon, K. S. (2005). Heavy metals contamination through industrial effluent to irrigation water and soil in Korangi area of Karachi (Pakistan). International Journal of Agriculture and Biology, 7, 646–648.Google Scholar
  43. Shah, M. H., & Shaheen, N. (2007). Statistical analysis of atmospheric trace metals and particulate fractions in Islamabad, Pakistan. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 147(3), 759–767.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Shah, M. H., Shaheen, N., Jaffar, M., & Saqib, M. (2004). Distribution of lead in relation to size of airborne particulate matter in Islamabad, Pakistan. Journal of Environmental Management, 70(2), 95–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Shi, J. C., Wang, H. Z., Xu, J. M., Wu, J. J., Liu, X. M., Zhu, H. P., & Yu, C. (2007). Spatial distribution of heavy metals in soils: a case study of Changxing, China. Environmental Geology, 52, 1–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Shimadzu Corporation. Technical report. Atomic Spectroscopy. Tokyo, Japan: Shimadzu Corporation.Google Scholar
  47. Sial, R. A., Chaudhary, M. F., Abbas, S. T., Latif, M. I., & Khan, A. G. (2006). Quality of effluents from Hattar Industrial Estate. Journal of Zhejiang University. Science. B, 7(12), 974–980.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. StataCorp. (2011). Stata statistical software: release 12. College Station: StataCorp. LP.Google Scholar
  49. StatSoft Inc. (2010). Statistica version 10. Tulsa: StatSoft Inc.Google Scholar
  50. Šxkrbić, B., & Đurišić-Mladenović, N. (2013). Distribution of heavy elements in urban and rural surface soils: the Novi Sad city and the surrounding settlements, Serbia. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 185(1), 457–471.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Tahmasbian, I., Nasrazadani, A., Shoja, H., & Sinegani, A. A. S. (2013). The effects of human activities and different land-use on trace element pollution in urban topsoil of Isfahan (Iran). Environmental Earth Science, 71, 1551–1560.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Tariq, S. R., Shah, M. H., Shaheen, N., Jaffar, M., & Khalique, A. (2008). Statistical source identification of metals in groundwater exposed to industrial contamination. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 138(1–3), 159–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Ullah, R., Malik, R. N., & Qadir, A. (2009). Assessment of groundwater contamination in an industrial city, Sialkot, Pakistan. African Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, 3, 429–446.Google Scholar
  54. Ullah, Z., Khan, H., Waseem, A., Mahmood, Q., & Farooq, U. (2013). Water quality assessment of the River Kabul at Peshawar, Pakistan: industrial and urban wastewater impacts. Journal of Water Chemistry and Technology, 35, 170–176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. United States Environmental Protection Agency. (1996). Method 3052: Microwave assisted acid digestion of siliceous and organically based matrices. Washington, D.C.: Environmental Protection Agency.Google Scholar
  56. United States Environmental Protection Agency. (2007). Treatment technologies for site cleanup: annual status report. 12th Edition. Technical Report EPA-542-R-07-012. Solid waste and emergency response (5203P). Washington, D.C: Environmental Protection Agency.Google Scholar
  57. von Schneidemesser, E., Stone, E. A., Quraishi, T. A., Shafer, M. M., & Schauer, J. J. (2010). Toxic metals in the atmosphere in Lahore, Pakistan. Science of the Total Environment, 408, 1640–1648.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Wang, X. S., & Qin, Y. (2006). Spatial distribution of metals in urban topsoils of Xuzhou (China): controlling factors and environmental implications. Environmental Geology, 49, 905–914.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Wasseem, A., Arshad, J., Iqbal, F., Sajjad, A., Mehmood, Z., & Murtaza, G. (2014). Pollution status of Pakistan: a retrospective review on heavy metal contamination of water, soil, and vegetables. BioMed Research International. Article ID 813206. doi: 10.1155/2014/813206.
  60. Wuana, R.A., & Okieimen, F.E. (2011). Heavy metals in contaminated soils: a review of sources, chemistry, risks and best available strategies for remediation. International Scholarly Research Network. ISRN Ecology. Article ID 402647. doi: 10.5402/2011/402647.
  61. Zhang, C. S. (2006). Using multivariate analyses and GIS to identify pollutants and their spatial patterns in urban soils in Galway, Ireland. Environmental Pollution, 142(3), 501–511.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Zhang, C., Wu, L., Luo, Y., Zhang, H., & Christie, P. (2008). Identifying sources of soil inorganic pollutants on a regional scale using a multivariate statistical approach: role of pollutant migration and soil physicochemical properties. Environmental Pollution, 151, 470–476.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Zhang, M. K., Liu, Z. Y., & Wang, H. (2010). Use of single extraction methods to predict bioavailability of heavy metals in polluted soils to rice. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis, 41(7), 820–831.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Zheng, Y. M., Chen, T. B., & He, J. Z. (2008). Multivariate geostatistical analysis of heavy metal in topsoils from Beijing, China. Journal of Soils and Sediments, 8(1), 51–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nayab Alam
    • 1
  • Sajid Rashid Ahmad
    • 1
  • Abdul Qadir
    • 1
  • Muhammad Imran Ashraf
    • 2
  • Calvin Lakhan
    • 3
  • V. Chris Lakhan
    • 4
  1. 1.College of Earth and Environmental SciencesUniversity of the PunjabLahorePakistan
  2. 2.Institute of GeologyUniversity of the PunjabLahorePakistan
  3. 3.Department of GeographyWilfrid Laurier UniversityWaterlooCanada
  4. 4.Department of Earth and Environmental SciencesUniversity of WindsorWindsorCanada

Personalised recommendations