ASSESSING DIVERSITY AND PHYTOREMEDIATION POTENTIAL OF MANGROVES FOR COPPER CONTAMINATED SEDIMENTS IN SUBIC BAY, PHILIPPINES
Toxic metal pollution of water and soil is a major environmental problem and most conventional remediation approaches may not provide adequate solutions. An alternative way of reducing copper (Cu) concentration from contaminated sediments is through phytoremediation. Presently, there are few research findings on the phytoremediation potential of mangroves on metals like Cu. The study was conducted to survey and identify mangroves present in Subic Bay, Philippines and to assess the phytoremediation potential of mangrove species on Cu in sediments. A total of five mangrove species were identified in the study area such as Barringtonia racemosa, Bruguiera sp, Canophyllum inophyllum, Rhizophora apiculata and Sonneratia alba. The Species Diversity Index of the mangroves in the area indicated low diversity due to low species richness and uneven distribution of different species in the study area. Nonetheless, mangrove species in our study possessed the capacity to absorb Cu, potentially aiding in the retention of toxic material and thereby reducing transport of Cu to adjacent estuarine and marine ecosystem. Sonneratia alba, Barringtonia racemosa, Bruguiera sp. and Rhizophora apiculata are potential phytoremediators of Cu from contaminated sediments in mangrove ecosystems.