Soil heavy metal concentration patterns at two speed zones along the Gaborone-Tlokweng border post highway, Southeast Botswana
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Since 1988 Botswana has been experiencing an unprecedented increase in vehicular traffic which is suspected to be having contamination effects on soils along heavily used roads in the country. This study aimed at understanding the contamination trends of heavy metals on soils due to vehicular emissions. The soil physicochemistry (bulk density, particle size distribution, pH, electrical conductivity and cation exchange capacity), mineralogy (using x-ray diffraction techniques) and heavy metals (Cd, Pb, Cu and Zn) concentrations were determined for soil samples obtained along the roadside at 2m, 4m, 6m and 100 m of the Gaborone – Tlokweng Emigration/Immigration Boarder Post Road, which is one of the busiest in the country. Bulk density of soil samples were from 1.19 to 1.4; and sand, loamy sand and sandy loam textural classes constituted the soil samples. The soil pH was from 5.09 to 8.57; the EC ranged from 6.27 μS cm-1to 20.3 27 μS cm-1 and the CEC values were from 10.2 meq100g-1 to 27.2 meq100g-1. Clay minerals were identified in the samples as well as feldspar and quartz. The concentration levels for Pb were from 0 mgkg-1 to 71 mgkg-1; Zn were from 5.23 mgkg-1 to 51.26 mgkg-1 ; Cu were from 0.3 mgkg-1 to 18.1 mgkg-1 and Cd 0 mgkg-1 to 2.4 mgkg-1 . The interplay of soil physico-chemistry and mineralogy on heavy metals concentrations is discussed. Although levels of heavy metals concentrations fell below normal ranges, the values obtained were generally higher than those from some developed and developing countries.