The tsunami caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011 disturbed coastal environments in the eastern Tohoku region in Japan. Numerous terrestrial materials, including anthropogenic organic compounds, were deposited in the coastal zone. To evaluate the impacts of the disaster, we analyzed PCBs, LABs, PAHs, and hopanes in mussels collected from 12 locations in the east of Tohoku during 2011–2015 (series A) by GC-ECD or GC–MS and compared them with results from mussels collected from 22 locations around Japan during 2001–2004 (series B). Early LAB concentrations in series A at some locations were higher than the maximum concentrations in series B but decreased during the 5 years. Because LABs are molecular markers for sewage, these decreases are consistent with the recovery of sewage treatment plants in these areas. Early PAH concentrations at several locations were higher than the maximum concentrations in series B but also decreased. These high concentrations would have been derived from oil spills. The decreases of both LABs and PAHs indicate that these locations were affected by the tsunami but recovered. In contrast, later high concentrations of target compounds were detected sporadically at several locations. This pattern suggests that environmental pollution was caused by human activities, such as reconstruction. To understand the long-term trend of environmental pollution induced by the disaster, continuous monitoring along the Tohoku coast is required.
Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology – Springer Journals
Published: May 20, 2017
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