Mercury Levels in Soil, Leafy Plants and Irrigation Well Water at Several Agricultural Fields in Baghdad Government, Iraq


Soil and plant contamination with heavy metals is one of the current problems inthe world especially contamination with mercury. Heavy metals are very harmfulbecause of their long biological half-lives, non-biodegradable nature and theirpossibility to accumulate at different body parts. Soil, well water and leafy plantsamples (Apium graveoleus, Allium ampeloprasum, Lepidium sativum, Eruca sativa,Petroselinum hortense, Ocimum basilicum , Mentha pulegium) from three differentagricultural fields (AL-Musafer village (site 1), AL-Autaifiyah (site 2) and ALHuriyah(site 3)) in Baghdad government, Iraq were analyzed for mercuryconcentration. Hg level in soil samples ranged from 3.67 to 5.33 ppm in ALAutaifiyahand AL-Musafer village, respectively. While, in water samples Hg levelranged from 1.2 in AL-Autaifiyah to 22.8 mg/l in AL-Musafer village. Plantsamples recorded Hg level ranged from 0.009 to 2.88 ppm in AL-Autaifiyah andAL-Huriyah, respectively. The results showed that Hg level in water samples andmost plant samples were above the acceptable limit according to WHO (1993), andFAQ/WHO (1999) respectively. While Hg level in soil samples was within theacceptable limit put by Ministry of the Environment, Finland (2007).