As a consequence of the limited resources of underdeveloped countries and the limited interest of the developed ones, the assessment of the chemical quality of entire water bodies around the world is a utopia in the near future.The methodology described here may serve as a first approach for the fast identification of water bodies that do not meet the good chemical status demanded by the European Water Framework Directive (WFD). It also allows estimating the natural background (or reference values of concentration) of the areas under study using a simple criterion. The starting point is the calculation the World-Wide Natural Background Levels (WWNBLs) and World-Wide Threshold Values (WWTVs), two indexes that depend on the concentration of seven elements present in sediments. These elements, As, Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb and Zn, have been selected taking into account the recommendations of the UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) and USEPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency), that describe them as elements of concern with respect to environmental toxicity.The methodology has been exemplified in a case study that includes 134 sediment samples collected in 11 transitional water bodies from 7 different countries and 4 different continents.Six of the water bodies considered met the good chemical status demanded by the WFD. The rest of them exceeded the reference WWTVs, at least for one of the elements. The estuaries of the Nerbioi-Ibaizabal (Basque Country) and Cavado (Portugal), the sea inlet of Río San Pedro (Spain), the Sepetiba Bay (Brazil) and the Yucateco lagoon (Mexico) belong to that group.
Journal of Environmental Management – Elsevier
Published: Sep 15, 2015
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