The Plants in a Landfill in the Philippines and their Behavior Towards Lead and Mercury: Their Potential Use For Future Remediation of Metal-Contaminated Soils in The Country

Patricia Anne G Nazareno, Inocencio E Buot, Maxima E Flavier
Vol 14 No 1 (2011), pp. 60-70




During past visits to the Cebu City landfill, plants were noticed growing in the facility. Studying the behavior of these plants is important for selecting those that can be used in mitigating heavy metal contamination.

The study aimed to assess whether the plants in the Cebu City landfill excluded or accumulated lead (Pb) and mercury (Hg) in the plant tissues. The floristic composition of the landfill was analyzed prior to sample collection. The plant samples were acid-digested before the analysis of the metals using atomic absorption spectrophotometry (AAS). The Pb and Hg concentrations in the rhizosphere were also measured using AAS.

The landfill substrate was generally acidic and the plant species differed in their response towards the heavy metals. As reflected in the Bioconcentration and Translocation Factors, Muntingia calabura (aratiles in Tagalog) and Tridax procumbens (tridax daisy) exhibited effective uptake of Hg. Muntingia calabura was able to internally transport Hg while Cynodon dactylon (kawad kawaran in Tagalog) effectively transferred Pb from roots to stems, though it cannot generalize that those plants that did to have Pb and/or Hg in their tissues were not potential candidates for the uptake and translocation of Pb and Hg. Although further studies are needed, Muntingia calabura can be planted to help contain Hg in the soil.


Keywords: plant communities, Pb and Hg contamination, landfill

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