This paper reports the first reconstruction of a pollution history in tropical Asia from sediment cores. Four sediment core samples were collected from an offshore transect in the upper Gulf of Thailand and were analyzed for organic micropollutants. The cores were dated by measurement of 137Cs and geochronometric molecular markers (linear alkylbenzenes, LABs; and tetrapropylene-type alkylbenzenes, TABs). Polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) concentrations showed a subsurface maximum in layers corresponding to the 1970s, indicating the effectiveness of regulation of PCBs in Thailand. LAB concentrations increased over time, indicating the increase in input of sewage into the Gulf during the last 30 years. Hopanes, biomarkers of petroleum pollution, also increased over time, indicating that the inputs of automobile-derived hydrocarbons to the coastal zone has been increasing owing to the increased number of cars in Thailand since the 1950s. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) increased in the layers corresponding to the 1950s and 1960s, probably because of the increased inputs of automobile-derived PAHs. PAH concentrations in the upper layers corresponding to the 1970s and later remained constant or increased. The absence of a subsurface maximum of PAHs contrasts with results observed in industrialized countries. This can be explained by the facts that the Thai economy did not depend on coal as an energy source in the 1960s and that economic growth has continued since the 1970s to the present. The deposition flux of PAHs and hopanes showed a dramatic offshore decrease, whereas that of LABs was uniform.
- Linear alkylbenzenes (LABs)
- Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
- Sediment core
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Aquatic Science