ASSESSMENT OF METALS POLLUTION IN SEDIMENT CORES FROM THE SABAH-SARAWAK COASTAL WATERS
The distribution, enrichment and pollution status of metals in sediment cores from the Sabah-Sarawak coastal waters were studied. Seven sediment cores were taken in July 2004 using a gravity box corer. The metals of Cu, Zn and Pb were analyzed by ICP-MS to assess the pollution status of the sediments. The sediment fine fraction and organic carbon content was also analyzed. Enrichment Factor (EF), Geoaccumulation Index (Igeo) and Pollution Load Index (PLI) was calculated as criteria of possible contamination. The results showed that collected sediments were composed with clay, silt and sand as 12 – 74%, 27 – 72% and 0 – 20%, respectively. Meanwhile, organic carbon contents were relatively low and constant over time, based on sediment depth profiles, and it did not exceed 5% at any sampling station. The average metal concentrations in sediment cores at all sampling station were distributed in the ranges of 1.66 ± 1.36 – 6.61 ± 0.12 µgg-1 for Cu, 26.55 ± 1.04 – 57.94 ± 1.58 µgg-1 for Zn and 3.99 ± 0.10 – 14.48 ± 0.32µgg-1 for Pb. According to calculations of EF, Igeo and PLI, it can be concluded that concentrations of Cu, Zn and Pb were not significantly affected by pollution from anthropogenic sources at the seven sampling locations. Thus, the metal content of Cu, Zn and Pb in sediment should not cause pollution problem to the marine environment of Sabah-Sarawak coastal waters and further response measures are not needed.