This study investigated the impacts of automobile workshops on heavy metals concentrations in urban soils of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area (LGA), Rivers State, Nigeria. Thirty three soil samples were collected each at sites close in proximity to selected automobile workshops (experimental sites) and sites that are far from the workshop without the influence of automobile workshop (control sites). The levels of mercury (Hg), lead (Pb) and cadmium (Cd) were determined using atomic absorption spectrophotometer (AAS). Data interpretation involved the use of descriptive statistics and pairwise t-test for test of significance in the levels of heavy metals between the experimental sites and control sites. Findings revealed that heavy metals were generally higher in soils under the influence of automobile workshop than the areas farther but Pb was higher than Hg and Cd. The mean values of Hg, Pb and Cd were 3.07, 91.03 and 5.63 mg/kg respectively in soils under the influence of automobile workshops and 0.03, 60.25 and 1.79 mg/kg, respectively in soils farther from the automobile workshop. There were significant variations in the levels of heavy metals between the experimental sites and the control sites at 0.05 confidence level. It is recommended that mechanic villages should be sited far from residential areas, phyto-remediation of polluted soil using local plants should be encouraged and continuous education and training should be provided for the automobile workers, emphasizing on the environmental implications of their poor occupational waste management.
Key words: Automobile workshops, heavy metals, urban soils, Obio/Akpor.
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