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Current status of the metal pollution of the environment of Greece - a review

  • Authors
    Farmaki E.
    Thomaidis N.

Pollution from metals and metalloids of the environment of Greece seemed to attract many
researchers and elemental pollutants in air, soil and water have been determined and studied
systematically during the last decade. The most recent of these studies, concerning the last
five years (2003 to 2008), were reviewed and the major problems of the occurrence of heavy
metals in the country’s environment were pointed out.
Regarding the atmospheric environment, the chemical characterization of particulate matter of
the big Greek cities attracted the interest of many authors. Heavy metals and As represented
an important fraction of the particulate matter of the atmosphere of Greek cities, with
increased content in inhalable fraction.
In addition, many works studied the metal content of soil and plants of the Athenian forests,
among with agricultural soils from the countryside. Copper, Fe and Cd were identified as the
most accumulated metals that may pose a long-term threat to soil and aquatic environment.
Most of the reviewed articles concerned the aquatic environment. Rivers and coastal
environment of northern Greece presented increased levels of metals and arsenic, reflecting
the transboundary and local agricultural and industrial activities. Marine environment nearby
the big cities was found reasonably polluted.
Therefore the presented results reflected the human activities: urban areas were reasonably
found more polluted (however without severe exceedence of the regulated values), compared
with the less populated regions. On the contrary, drinking water of the urban populated areas,
due to proper treatment, conformed to the regulated values.

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