Heavy metals assessment for sustainable management in Estuaries of Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province

Le Hung Phu, Pham Hong Ngoc, Le Trong Dung, Nguyen Hong Thu, Ho Van The, Vo Tran Tuan Linh, Nguyen Minh Hieu, Phan Minh Thu
Author affiliations


  • Le Hung Phu Institute of Oceanography, VAST, Vietnam
  • Pham Hong Ngoc Institute of Oceanography, VAST, Vietnam
  • Le Trong Dung Institute of Oceanography, VAST, Vietnam
  • Nguyen Hong Thu Institute of Oceanography, VAST, Vietnam
  • Ho Van The Institute of Oceanography, VAST, Vietnam
  • Vo Tran Tuan Linh Institute of Oceanography, VAST, Vietnam https://orcid.org/0009-0009-9211-2715
  • Nguyen Minh Hieu Institute of Oceanography, VAST, Vietnam https://orcid.org/0009-0008-1984-7822
  • Phan Minh Thu Institute of Oceanography, VAST, Vietnam https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7394-0728




Heavy metal, water quality, sediment quality, estuaries, Ba Ria - Vung Tau.


Heavy metal concentration in the aquatic environment of estuaries is a significant environmental concern with potential consequences for ecosystems and human health. Heavy metals are naturally occurring elements that can enter aquatic environments through both natural processes and human activities. The interplay between natural processes and human activities, particularly urbanization and industrialization, often exacerbates heavy metal pollution in aquatic ecosystems. Some of the most common heavy metals of concern in estuarine pollution include arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), mercury (Hg), lead (Pb), zinc (Zn), and iron (Fe). Based on the results of two surveys in rainy and dry seasons, the paper aims to assess the concentrations of heavy metals in the estuarine environment of Ba Ria - Vung Tau Province, Vietnam, to understand the extent of contamination and its potential impacts on the ecosystem and human health. The average concentrations As, Cd, Hg, Pb, Zn, and Fe were 2.01, 0.024, 0.028, 1.63, 4.71, and 492.9 µg/L in water, and 6.70, 0.175, 0.060, 11.78, 41.94, and 3,108.9 mg/kg in sediment, respectively. Heavy metal concentrations in water have an increased trend during the rainy season. In contrast, values in sediment exhibit an opposite pattern, which can be explained by various environmental factors and processes. For water and sediment quality, individual metals, and overall metal contamination levels (the contamination factor - Cf, contamination degree - Cd, and metal pollution index - MPI) may appear to be low, whereas the assessment of the combined effects of multiple metals (Metal quality index - MI > 1) indicates that there is a potential risk to aquatic life in the estuaries. This assessment may underscore the importance of considering not only individual metal concentrations but also their cumulative effects when evaluating water and sediment quality and making decisions regarding protecting aquatic ecosystems. Further investigations and measures may be needed to mitigate potential harm to aquatic organisms and for sustainable management in estuaries.


Download data is not yet available.


Metrics Loading ...


Kinimo, K. C., Yao, K. M., Marcotte, S., and Trokourey, A., 2018. Distribution trends and ecological risks of arsenic and trace metals in wetland sediments around gold mining activities in central-southern and southeastern Côte d’Ivoire. Journal of Geochemical Exploration, 190, 265–280.

Lee, P. K., Yu, S., Jeong, Y. J., Seo, J., Choi, S. G., and Yoon, B. Y., 2019. Source identification of arsenic contamination in agricultural soils surrounding a closed Cu smelter, South Korea. Chemosphere, 217, 183–194. https://doi.org/10.1016/ j.chemosphere.2018.11.010 https://doi.org/10.1016/ j.chemosphere.2018.11.010">

Liu, R., Bao, K., Yao, S., Yang, F., and Wang, X., 2018. Ecological risk assessment and distribution of potentially harmful trace elements in lake sediments of Songnen Plain, NE China. Ecotoxicology and environmental safety, 163, 117–124.

Morales-García, S. S., Rodríguez-Espinosa, P. F., Shruti, V. C., Jonathan, M. P., and Martínez-Tavera, E., 2017. Metal concentrations in aquatic environments of Puebla River basin, Mexico: natural and industrial influences. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 24, 2589–2604.

Rinklebe, J., Antoniadis, V., Shaheen, S. M., Rosche, O., and Altermann, M., 2019. Health risk assessment of potentially toxic elements in soils along the Central Elbe River, Germany. Environment international, 126, 76–88.

Varol, M., Canpolat, Ö., Eriş, K. K., and Çağlar, M., 2020. Trace metals in core sediments from a deep lake in eastern Turkey: Vertical concentration profiles, eco-environmental risks and possible sources. Ecotoxicology and environmental safety, 189, 110060.

Kabir, M. H., Islam, M. S., Hoq, M. E., Tusher, T. R., and Islam, M. S., 2020. Appraisal of heavy metal contamination in sediments of the Shitalakhya River in Bangladesh using pollution indices, geo-spatial, and multivariate statistical analysis. Arabian journal of geosciences, 13, 1–13.

Proshad, R., Islam, S., Tusher, T. R., Zhang, D., Khadka, S., Gao, J., and Kundu, S., 2021. Appraisal of heavy metal toxicity in surface water with human health risk by a novel approach: a study on an urban river in vicinity to industrial areas of Bangladesh. Toxin reviews, 40(4), 803–819.

Simpson, S. L., and Spadaro, D. A., 2016. Bioavailability and chronic toxicity of metal sulfide minerals to benthic marine invertebrates: implications for deep sea exploration, mining and tailings disposal. Environmental science & technology, 50(7), 4061–4070.

He, Y., Men, B., Yang, X., Li, Y., Xu, H., and Wang, D., 2019. Relationship between heavy metals and dissolved organic matter released from sediment by bioturbation/bioirrigation. Journal of environmental sciences, 75, 216–223.

Huang, Y., Deng, M., Wu, S., Japenga, J., Li, T., Yang, X., and He, Z., 2018. A modified receptor model for source apportionment of heavy metal pollution in soil. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 354, 161–169.

Kang, M. J., Kwon, Y. K., Yu, S., Lee, P. K., Park, H. S., and Song, N., 2019. Assessment of Zn pollution sources and apportionment in agricultural soils impacted by a Zn smelter in South Korea. Journal of hazardous materials, 364, 475–487.

Qu, L., Huang, H., Xia, F., Liu, Y., Dahlgren, R. A., Zhang, M., and Mei, K., 2018. Risk analysis of heavy metal concentration in surface waters across the rural-urban interface of the Wen-Rui Tang River, China. Environmental pollution, 237, 639–649.

Wang, Z., Zhou, J., Zhang, C., Qu, L., Mei, K., Dahlgren, R. A., Zhang, M., and Xia, F., 2019. A comprehensive risk assessment of metals in riverine surface sediments across the rural-urban interface of a rapidly developing watershed. Environmental pollution, 245, 1022–1030.

Li, H., Gao, X., Gu, Y., Wang, R., Xie, P., Liang, M., Minh, H., and Su, J., 2018. Comprehensive large-scale investigation and assessment of trace metal in the coastal sediments of Bohai Sea. Marine pollution bulletin, 129(1), 126–134.

Lian, M., Wang, J., Sun, L., Xu, Z., Tang, J., Yan, J., and Zeng, X., 2019. Profiles and potential health risks of heavy metals in soil and crops from the watershed of Xi River in Northeast China. Ecotoxicology and environmental safety, 169, 442–448.

Weber, A. A., Sales, C. F., de Souza Faria, F., Melo, R. M. C., Bazzoli, N., and Rizzo, E., 2020. Effects of metal contamination on liver in two fish species from a highly impacted neotropical river: a case study of the Fundão dam, Brazil. Ecotoxicology and environmental safety, 190, 110165.

Zhang, C., Shan, B., Tang, W., Wang, C., and Zhang, L., 2019. Identifying sediment-associated toxicity in rivers affected by multiple pollutants from the contaminant bioavailability. Ecotoxicology and environmental safety, 171, 84–91.

Fu, J., Zhao, C., Luo, Y., Liu, C., Kyzas, G. Z., Luo, Y., Zhao, D., An, S., and Zhu, H., 2014. Heavy metals in surface sediments of the Jialu River, China: their relations to environmental factors. Journal of hazardous materials, 270, 102–109.

Zhao, X. M., Yao, L. A., Ma, Q. L., Zhou, G. J., Wang, L., Fang, Q. L., and Xu, Z. C., 2018. Distribution and ecological risk assessment of cadmium in water and sediment in Longjiang River, China: Implication on water quality management after pollution accident. Chemosphere, 194, 107–116.

Rice, E. W., Baird, R. B., Eaton, A. D., and Clescer, L. S., 2017. Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater. Public Health Assoc. Am. Water Work, 23, 2–66.

Nemerow, N. L., 1971. Benefits of water quality enhancement (Vol. 16110). Environmental Protection Agency, Water Quality Office.

Caeiro, S., Costa, M. H., Ramos, T. B., Fernandes, F., Silveira, N., Coimbra, A., Medeiros, G., and Painho, M., 2005. Assessing heavy metal contamination in Sado Estuary sediment: an index analysis approach. Ecological indicators, 5(2), 151–169.

Hakanson, L., 1980. An ecological risk index for aquatic pollution control. A sedimentological approach. Water research, 14(8), 975–1001.

Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, 2015. QCVN 08-MT:2015/BTNMT: National technical regulation on surface water quality. Environment, M.o.N.R.a., Ha Noi, Vietnam. (in Vietnamese).

Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, 2017. QCVN 43-MT:2017/BTNMT: National Technical Regulation on Sediment Environment, M.o.N.R.a., Ha Noi, Vietnam. (in Vietnamese).

Bakan, G., Özkoç, H. B., Tülek, S., and Cüce, H., 2010. Integrated Environmental Quality Assessment of Kızılırmak River and its Coastal Environment. Turkish Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 10(4), 453–462.

Nguyen, N. T. T., and Volkova, I. V., 2018. Assessment of heavy metal pollution in water and sediments in the red river delta (Vietnam). In IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering (Vol. 451, No. 1, pp. 012203). IOP Publishing.

Strady, E., Dang, V. B. H., Némery, J., Guédron, S., Dinh, Q. T., Denis, H., and Nguyen, P. D., 2017. Baseline seasonal investigation of nutrients and trace metals in surface waters and sediments along the Saigon River basin impacted by the megacity of Ho Chi Minh (Vietnam). Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 24, 3226–3243.

Strady, E., Dinh, Q. T., Némery, J., Nguyen, T. N., Guédron, S., Nguyen, N. S., Denis, H., and Nguyen, P. D., 2017. Spatial variation and risk assessment of trace metals in water and sediment of the Mekong Delta. Chemosphere, 179, 367–378.

Hong, N. P., Le Hung, P., Hong, T. N., Le Trong, D., and Viet, H. D., 2022. Water quality at Cai river mouth and Tac river mouth, Nha Trang bay (2015–2019). Vietnam Journal of Marine Science and Technology, 22(1), 79–84.

Zhang, D., Zhang, X., Tian, L., Ye, F., Huang, X., Zeng, Y., and Fan, M., 2013. Seasonal and spatial dynamics of trace elements in water and sediment from Pearl River Estuary, South China. Environmental earth sciences, 68, 1053–1063.

Nguyen, B. T., Do, D. D., Nguyen, T. X., Nguyen, V. N., Nguyen, D. T. P., Nguyen, M. H., Truong, H. T. T., Dong, H. P., Le, A. H., and Bach, Q. V., 2020. Seasonal, spatial variation, and pollution sources of heavy metals in the sediment of the Saigon River, Vietnam. Environmental Pollution, 256, 113412.

Nguyen, T. T. H., Zhang, W., Li, Z., Li, J., Ge, C., Liu, J., Bai, X., Feng, H., and Yu, L., 2016. Assessment of heavy metal pollution in Red River surface sediments, Vietnam. Marine pollution bulletin, 113(1–2), 513–519.

Tham, T. T., Lap, B. Q., Mai, N. T., Trung, N. T., Thao, P. P., and Huong, N. T. L., 2021. Ecological risk assessment of heavy metals in sediments of Duyen Hai Seaport area in Tra Vinh province, Vietnam. Water, Air, & Soil Pollution, 232, 1–11.




How to Cite

Hung Phu, L., Hong Ngoc, P., Trong Dung, L., Hong Thu, N., Van The, H., Tuan Linh, V. T., Minh Hieu, N., & Minh Thu, P. (2024). Heavy metals assessment for sustainable management in Estuaries of Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province. Vietnam Journal of Marine Science and Technology, 24(1), 17–32. https://doi.org/10.15625/1859-3097/18976