Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2022 Nov 12. doi: 10.1007/s11356-022-23563-y. Online ahead of print.
Trace elements emitted by road transport cause long-term contamination of road soils. This study showed the effect of the noise barrier on the spatial distribution of metals in soils at the City Centre Ring Road in Wrocław (Poland). Samples were taken along the barrier every 150 m and across the screen at distances of 0.5, 2.5, 5 (only on the left side), 10, 20, and 50 m from the noise screen on both sides of road no. 5. The contamination of soils was assessed with the use of commonly used individual pollution indices, integrated pollution indices based on the PI index or metal concentrations, and a potential ecological risk index (RI). The geoaccumulation index (Igeo) and the single pollution index (PI) indicate moderate contamination of soils by Cu, Pb, and Zn at most measuring points. The significant risk was reported from Cd in all samples. Integrated pollution indices, especially the PI_Nemerow, PI_avg, and RI confirm the poor quality of studied soils. The presence of elements in soil is related to anthropogenic factors. The spatial distribution of pollution indices and results of statistical analysis (HCA) indicate that Cr and Ni are of natural origin. Remaining elements (Cd, Pb, Cu, Zn) are of mixed origin with a large share from car transport (the significant Spearman’s correlation coefficients). In the case of cadmium, dendograms suggest the existence of an additional anthropogenic source, which is also confirmed by moderately strong correlations of this element with other metals.