Research press release


Nature Communications

Environment: Levels of lithium in waterways of Seoul assessed



今回、Jong-Sik Ryuたちの研究グループは、韓国最大の都市ソウルの主たる水道水源である漢江流域でサンプリング調査を実施し、漢江上流のリチウム濃度が世界の他の河川より低いことを見いだした。しかし、漢江が都市部に入り、流域の人口密度が上昇すると、リチウム濃度は上流域の最大600%に達したことが判明した。Ryuたちは、この濃度の変化の原因が人為的活動だと考えており、水道水試料のリチウム濃度についても流域の人口密度の上昇に伴って同じ傾向が観察された。また、水道水試料のリチウム同位体組成を分析した結果、漢江に流入したリチウムが、リチウムイオン電池、治療薬、食品廃棄物に由来するものであることが判明した。


Lithium from electronics and batteries may be entering rivers and contaminating tap water in Seoul, South Korea, suggests a paper in Nature Communications. The study suggests that lithium concentrations in waterways are correlated with population density, and that waste-water treatment plants appear to be ineffective at removing this element.

The popularity and demand for mobile phones and electric-powered vehicles has led to an increase in the use of lithium. Although future demand is projected to increase, there are few lithium disposal guidelines and little knowledge of how manufacturing and disposal affects the environment and human health.

Jong-Sik Ryu and colleagues sampled water along the Han River basin, which is the main source of tap water for Seoul, the largest city in South Korea. The authors found that compared to other rivers worldwide, the concentration of lithium in the upper Han River is lower. However, as the river passed through the city and the population density increased, lithium concentrations were found to be up to 600% higher than those upstream. The authors suggest that anthropogenic activities are responsible for this change, and observed a similar trend in lithium concentrations in tap water samples as population increased. In an analysis of the isotopic composition, they found that the lithium entering the Han River appears to come from lithium-ion batteries, therapeutic drugs and food waste.

The authors argue that their study reveals a need for better monitoring, identification of risk zones, and overall minimization of lithium-related impacts on ecosystems and human health.

doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-13376-y

「Nature 関連誌注目のハイライト」は、ネイチャー広報部門が報道関係者向けに作成したリリースを翻訳したものです。より正確かつ詳細な情報が必要な場合には、必ず原著論文をご覧ください。

メールマガジンリストの「Nature 関連誌今週のハイライト」にチェックをいれていただきますと、毎週最新のNature 関連誌のハイライトを皆様にお届けいたします。