Richards Bay Harbour: Metal exposure monitoring over the last 34years

R. Greenfield, V. Wepener, N. Degger, K. Brink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Richards Bay Harbour is South Africa's premier bulk cargo port. It was constructed in the Mhlathuze estuary in 1976 and over the past 34 years has become South Africa's most modern and largest cargo handling port. Although no official monitoring programme is in progress various studies by different groups have provided relevant data with respect to changing metal levels in brown mussel tissue (Perna perna) over the last 34 years. Eleven elements were analysed in brown mussels from the main channel in Richards Bay Harbour using ICP-MS. The results indicate that the metal concentrations in the mussel tissue remained relatively constant between 1974 and 2005. The mean metal concentrations increased significantly in 2005 possibly due to the construction of the new coal terminal and associated dredging activities. Mean metal concentrations in the 2008 sampling event were also elevated due to increased run off during an above average rainy season.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1926-1931
Number of pages6
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011


  • Baseline
  • Long term monitoring
  • Metal bioaccumulation
  • Mussels
  • Perna perna

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Pollution


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