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Legacy‐micropollutant contamination levels in major river basins based on findings from the Rhône Sediment Observatory

Abstract : For more than half a century, chemical contamination has progressively spread to all the large river basins. Large river outlets integrate multiple anthropogenic pressures in watersheds, making them the largest source of sediment-bound contaminants to conti- nental shelf areas. However, comparing particulate micropollutant contaminations between the large river basins is a challenging task, especially due to the scarcity of long-term river monitoring programs. Here we address this issue, with a focus on leg- acy particulate micropollutants (polychlorobiphenyls [PCBi], polycyclic aromatic hydro- carbons [PAHs] and trace metal elements [TME]) yields. For this purpose, we employed a bottom-up multiscale approach to chemical contamination in river basins that takes micropollutant yields measured in the Rhône River sub-basins (France) as a benchmark of other large river basins. Data on the Rhône River basin came from a unique 10-year-long monitoring program within the Rhône Sediment Observatory (OSR), and were compared to data gathered on 18 major worldwide river outlets. The Rhône River basin is far cleaner now than a few decades ago, likely due to environmen- tal regulations. At a wider spatial scale, our results depict an overall contamination gra- dient splitting the most heavily contaminated river basins, located in developing and industrializing low-to-middle-income countries, from the least contaminated rivers located in developed high-income countries. We argue that chemical contamination levels of large river basins depend on their stage of economic development.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03589353
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Submitted on : Friday, February 25, 2022 - 3:32:40 PM
Last modification on : Monday, July 4, 2022 - 9:37:15 AM

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Hugo Delile, André‐marie Dendievel, Anice Yari, Matthieu Masson, Cecile Miege, et al.. Legacy‐micropollutant contamination levels in major river basins based on findings from the Rhône Sediment Observatory. Hydrological Processes, Wiley, 2022, 36 (2), pp.e14511. ⟨10.1002/hyp.14511⟩. ⟨hal-03589353⟩

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