The Gulf of Paria is subject to heavy metal contamination from industrial and agricultural activities, sewage, domestic waste and urban run-off. These metals can bio-accumulate in aquatic organisms and pose a risk to human health. Historical information on heavy metal contamination can be used to establish baseline conditions and to evaluate how contaminant concentrations have responded to changes in population, land use and human activities including pollution reduction strategies. While monitoring programs can provide valuable historical information, these programmes cannot evaluate conditions that existed before they were initiated, and advances in sampling and analytical techniques can make comparison with past data difficult. These limitations can be overcome through the analysis of dated sediment cores, which allows for the reconstruction of extended records of pollutant concentrations. This study will evaluate how heavy metal concentrations have responded to industrialization, urbanization and the various pollution control strategies implemented in Trinidad and Tobago over the years, which will assist in improving management strategies. In 2017, surficial sediments from the Gulf of Paria were sampled during the dry season for heavy metals analysis and a bathymetric survey to guide the selection of sediment core sampling sites in the Gulf of Paria was completed.
April 14, 2018