Reconstruction of metal pollution and recent sedimentation processes in Havana Bay (Cuba): A tool for coastal ecosystem management

M. Díaz-Asencio, J. A.Corcho Alvarado, C. Alonso-Hernández, A. Quejido-Cabezas, A. C. Ruiz-Fernández, M. Sanchez-Sanchez, M. B. Gómez-Mancebo, P. Froidevaux, J. A. Sanchez-Cabeza

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20 Citations (Scopus)


Since 1998 the highly polluted Havana Bay ecosystem has been the subject of a mitigation program. In order to determine whether pollution-reduction strategies were effective, we have evaluated the historical trends of pollution recorded in sediments of the Bay. A sediment core was dated radiometrically using natural and artificial fallout radionuclides. An irregularity in the 210Pb record was caused by an episode of accelerated sedimentation. This episode was dated to occur in 1982, a year coincident with the heaviest rains reported in Havana over the XX century. Peaks of mass accumulation rates (MAR) were associated with hurricanes and intensive rains. In the past 60 years, these maxima are related to strong El Niño periods, which are known to increase rainfall in the north Caribbean region. We observed a steady increase of pollution (mainly Pb, Zn, Sn, and Hg) since the beginning of the century to the mid 90s, with enrichment factors as high as 6. MAR and pollution decreased rapidly after the mid 90s, although some trace metal levels remain high. This reduction was due to the integrated coastal zone management program introduced in the late 90s, which dismissed catchment erosion and pollution. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)402-411
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2011


  • 137 Cs
  • 210 Pb
  • 239,240 Pu
  • Havana Bay
  • Pollutants
  • Sediment dating


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