The State of Qatar is a major oil/gas producer in the world which renders its local environment vulnerable to carcinogenic and toxic chemical species resulting from direct and indirect contact with petroleum products. The current level of environmental contamination as direct result of oil/gas industry in Qatar is unknown and there is an urgent need to understand the associated risks on the local population and natural wildlife. This research project was aiming to selectively detect and identify oil/gas-related contaminants, specifically polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), in the soil and marine regions of Qatar. PAHs and PCBs are considered toxic and carcinogenic. They are classified as persistent organic pollutants (POPs). Soils can be contaminated with POPs due to the air pollution from the heavy traffic or from the waste discharged from industries. Fifty soil samples were collected from different residential and industrial areas in Qatar and were extracted through accelerated solvent extraction (ASE) technique. Gas chromatograph - Flame ionization detector (GC-FID) was used to find the 16 common PAHs in each sample and gas chromatograph - electron capture detector (GC-ECD) was used to find PCBs with the aid of deuterated internal and surrogate standards. It was found that some of the samples contain high amounts of benzo[a]pyrene which is the most carcinogenic hydrocarbon. Also, soil samples collected near coastal areas close to industrial activities show higher percentages of PAHs and PCBs (1.1- 1.9 µg/g and 10.4-17.4 µg/g for PAHs and PCBs respectively) as compared to other soil samples. This study helps in identifying environmental hotspots and various risks associated with these contaminants and provide decision makers with preventive and protective measures.


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