ASSESSMENT OF ELEMENTS IN SURFACE SEDIMENTS OF PERAI RIVER, PENANG USING NEUTRON ACTIVATION ANALYSIS TECHNIQUE
This study was to assess the concentration levels of ten elements within the surface sediments collected from upstream to downstream at the main Perai River and one of its subsidiaries of Penang. The elemental concentrations were measured using non-destructive nuclear technique of Neutron Activation Analysis (NAA). The average concentration found in the elementals of Antimony (Sb), Arsenic (As), Barium (Ba), Cobalt (Co), Chromium (Cr), Iron (Fe), Scandium (Sc), Uranium (U), Thorium (Th), and Zinc (Zn) was 1.5 ppm, 16.9 ppm, 306.7 ppm, 6.5 ppm, 69.8 ppm, 2.9 %, 11.1 ppm, 11.4 ppm, 37.9 ppm and 244.9 ppm, respectively. Halves of the studied elements namely the As, Sb, U, Th and Zn were found having the mean concentration value greater than the continental crust (CC) value, whilst the others having lower mean concentration as compared to CC value. Correlations among the elements, organic matters and particle sizes were also studied. Five elements namely As, Co, Sc, Th and Zn were found significantly correlated with the iron concentration and the organic matter content, while the correlation between elements and particle sizes were unclear. Overall, the study shown that the enrichment appeared to be severe for As, moderately severe enriched for elements Sb, Th, U and Zn, while no enrichment was found for elements Ba, Co, Cr and Sc. Human development activities such as industries and urbanization were believed to be the main contribution to the enrichment of elements.