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An Evaluation of Heavy Metal Accumulation in Root Crops found in the City of Baguio

A heavy metal can be defined as a chemical element with a specific gravity that is atleast
five times of water (considered one (1) at 39oF for water). Specific gravity is a measure of
density of a given amount of water. (Dr. Sulivan and Angima 2008).
For the past twenty five years or so, studies have shown that plants growing in
contaminated soils can tolerate otherwise toxic levels of certain pollutants. Plant communities
respond differently to the presence of metals in the soil. Some plants have developed sensitivity
to some metals even at very low concentration while others have developed resistance to the
toxic metal stress, which can be achieved either through avoidance or tolerance. (Baker 1987)
The Philippines, one of the Crop exporters in Asia and is now the fastest rice producer
(Philippine Rice Research Institute, 2014) with a portion of the population’s main source of
revenue is Farming, producing crops for exportation internationally will be an advantage for the
researchers to have accessible resources thus, it will help the study be more precise and detailed.
The place where this study will be conducted is in Baguio City with the locality being the
Philippines' best and primary source of highland vegetables such as lettuce, broccolli,
cauliflower, carrots, potatoes, cabbage, and other greens (GoBaguio, 2012).
The presence of heavy metals in root crops may be affected by factors, such as, Acid Rain. Since
Climate Change is happening all throughout the biosphere, the vaporized and gaseous substances
float through the atmosphere such that when acid rain is formed, it seeps into the soil and with
the chemicals present in the rain, the crops may react differently (Balkhair and Ashraf, 2015).
Another factor is that, with Baguio City being a mining land, the chances of its surrounding
agricultural land may have higher accumulation of heavy metals. Some of these heavy metals i.e.
As, Cd, Hg, Pb or Se are not essential for plants growth, since they do not perform any known
physiological function in plants (Jiwan and Ajay, 2011).
Whereas metal contamination is widespread, the occurrence of heavy metals in
agricultural soild is a major concern. Taken up by plants , heavy metals may enter the food chain
in significant amounts. Hence, people could be at risk of adverse health effects from consuming
vegetables grown in soils containing elevated metal concentrations (Nasreddine and Parent-
Massin 2002). With connection to Heavy metals in Root Crops, risks arise that the researchers
have found that society and the locals should be aware of. Due to the lack of technological
advances and finances, more and more farmers prefer basic and cheaper qualities of farming
materials making the metal present in the react and affect the crops.
Metals being present in soil will also contaminate and degrade the soil quality and are
sometimes causing soil impairment, the damage in most cases is not permanent. In other cases
the crops present in the soil will endanger organisms if eaten (FAO CORPORATE DOCUMENT
REPOSITORY). With the degradation of soil lesser production will arise as another risk due to
heavy metal accumulation. Because of the soil being contaminated, farmers will be forced to stop
planting crops, this may lead to crop production crisis. Not only affecting the profit of the
farmers but the economy of the country as well (Balkhair and Ashraf, 2015).
With these risks and factors being mentioned above, The researchers’ objectives in line
with the heavy metal Accumulation in Root crops found in Baguio City are; A.) : A.) Identify the
heavy metals present in Cabbage, Lettuce and Wombok (Chinese Cabbage). B.) Determine the
percentage of heavy metal accumulation in the said root crop.

Go Baguio! (2012). Your Guide to Baguio City, Philippines. Retrieved from
Jiwan, S. & Ajay, K. (2011, September). Effects of Heavy Metals on Soil, Plants, Human Health
and Aquatic life. Retrieved from
K. S., Balkhair, & M. A., Ashraf. (2015, October 9). Field accumulation risks of heavy metals in
soil and vegetable crop irrigated with sewage water in western region of Saudi Arabia.
Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1319562X1500218