Potential effects of heavy metal pollution from a cement factory near Saudi Arabia’s largest green turtle rookery

Lyndsey K. Tanabe*, Susana Carvalho, Vijayalaxmi Dasari, Areen Nasif, Kaitlyn A. O’Toole, Michael L. Berumen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Sand samples were collected from four beaches near a cement factory in Ras Baridi, north of Yanbu, which hosts the largest green turtle rookery in Saudi Arabia. Heavy metal concentrations (Cd, Pb, Fe, Cr, Ni, Se, Sb, As, and Cu) were measured at three different depths. For most elements, there were no significant differences in concentrations among depths; however, significant differences were found among the nesting beaches in Ras Baridi, which were likely influenced by the wind direction from the factory. Fe, Cr, Cu, and Ni had elevated contamination factor values, suggesting that the nesting beaches downwind and adjacent to the cement factory contained moderately contaminated sand. Given the possibility of heavy metals being absorbed through eggshells, there is a potential risk of heavy metal contamination in clutches laid in Ras Baridi. The rising threat to the local ecology in Saudi Arabia due to recent coastal developments for tourism projects highlights the importance of monitoring heavy metal concentrations over time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number450
JournalEnvironmental Monitoring and Assessment
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) through baseline funding to MLB.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).


  • Cement pollution
  • Endangered species
  • Environmental assessment
  • Red Sea
  • Sand contamination
  • Turtle nesting threats

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • Pollution
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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