Different researches showed that cement manufacturing is one of the significant sources of heavy metal pollution in soil through precipitation and fallout. In this study, heavy metals pollution in soil and barley crop grown around Mugher cement factory were investigated. A total of 36 soil samples at different distance from the factory (0- 500m, 500- 1500m and 4000m) and 22 barley sample were collected and analyzed at Holetta Agricultural Chemistry Laboratory. The parameters analyzed in soil sample includes: Available heavy metals, total heavy metals and major physico- chemical properties. Dry ashing method was used to determine the level of heavy metals in barley sample. Analysis for the concentration of heavy metals were conducted using Atomic Absorption Spectrometer. One- way ANOVA were used to compare the mean values between experimental treatments with SPSS statistical software. The Geo- accumulation Index and transfer factor of each heavy metal were computed and interpreted. The Igeo values are below zero indicates that the soil quality is practically unpolluted. The results in soil physico- chemical properties showed that neutral to moderately alkaline soil pH, clay to clay loam soil texture, medium to high category of phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium. The cement dust therefore effluence to enhance the pH level to the alkaline, as a result the contents of major soil physico- chemical properties declines near to the factory. The values of heavy metals transfer factors from soil to barley crop are below one indicates that the crop have not influenced by heavy metals that uptaked from cement dust polluted fields. The levels of heavy metals determined in the analyzed barley samples also found to be below the permissible limit set by FAO/WHO; hence, the concentration of these heavy metals in the barley crop analyzed, may not presently pose a health hazard and can as well serve as sources of essential trace metals to the population.
Keywords: Heavy metals, Atomic Absorption Spectrometer, pollution indices, transfer factor