Profile of Mrs Enkelejda Kucaj POLIS University

Enkelejda Kucaj

Enkelejda Kucaj graduated in Master of Science for Agro Environmental & Ecology at the Agricultural University of Tirana (2011) and has finished PhD for Environmental Science in Agricultural University of Tirana (2016).
She has been coordinator in some institutions as INSTAT, lector in private University, etc. Also, has participated in several national and international conferences, published as author and co-author in several articles in journals with Impact Factor, has been part in many training courses in and abroad the country.
Currently, is in POLIS University as the first lecturer of “Environmental Law”, “Environmental Economy”, “Research Scientific Methods”, “Academic Writing”.

General research interests

My educational background is related to the environmental field. Therefore, my concern area are environmental issues such as: water, air, land, agricultural crops and natural heritage pollution, which help to understand better the situation of the environmental in the country and the degree of interaction between various social - economic factors and environmental effects.
Also, the impact that can cause a source in natural resources to climate change by making environmental impact assessments accompanied by recommendations on how to address them in the future.

PhD/Postdoctoral Research Title

Evaluation of pollution in Lana and Tirana river, and the role of Phramites Australis in absorption of heavy metals

PhD Abstract

In recent years’ environmental issues in relation to water pollution and contamination factors have returned in the spotlight. Though all the segments of environment are being polluted in various ways, the study of water pollution selected as it is not an ordinary liquid is soft is the elixir of life. Tirana and Lana rivers go through the city of Tirana both sides of it.
These two rivers are serving as collector and receives most of the wastewater coming from many activities including industrial, agricultural, and domestic wastewater. Associated with the development of the area, the increase of pollutants into the river has been a recent cause for alarm.
Our study is focused mostly on the current state, issues of pollution and evaluation of physical - chemical parameters in water Lana and Tirana river. Also is analyzed the presence of heavy metals in aquatic environments - sediment - plant - fish. For evaluation of water quality in these ecosystems, the assessment of the results for physical-chemical and heavy metal concentrations were compared with national and international standards.
Water samples were collected in four sampling for each river and were monitored from June 2012 to September 2014. Twelve physic-chemical parameters for all the sites were estimated by adopting the standard methods and procedures. The results for Tirana river revealed that the average pH value was measured as 7.80, electrical conductivity was 471 μs/cm ± 68.70, dissolved oxygen was 7.08 mg/l ± 1.321. The results for Lana river revealed that the average of chemical oxygen demand was 82 mg/l ± 48.466, biological oxygen demand was 33 mg/l ± 22.96. Comparison of estimated values with Water directive 76/160/EEC and NIVA-s (Bartli 2000) standards revealed that water of study area is polluted which may be harmful for aquatic bio-system and human beings. So water quality management is urgently required to achieve the water quality standards. Correlation coefficient showed highly significant positive and negative relationship (p<0.05 level).
Concentration and accumulation of six trace elements (Cu, Pb, Ni, Fe, Mn and Zn) were measured in water, sediment and aquatic plants (Phragmites australis) collected during the season autumn 2014 and spring 2015, in ten sampling locations at Tirana river (Laknas Bridge) flowing in the central part of Albania. The concentration of heavy metals in samples was measured using the flame atomic absorption spectrophotometer (AAS). The assessment of heavy metals in the sediments has an important role in determination of pollution status and in the quality of these ecosystems. Higher concentration of elements under study were observed in sediment more than their concentrations in water and plant.
The distribution of heavy metals in the water of the river varies depending on the season and sampling stations. The elements Cu, Fe in some stations are found to be close to the allowable values by the EU standards and represent a potential contamination risk. Mean heavy metal concentrations (mg kg-1) in sediments for each season were, Zn (39.25 – 42.15), Cu (82.401 – 116.187), Cr (97.89 - 143.3) and Mn (462.85 – 587.92), Ni (104 – 125), Fe (24343.88 – 28731.96). These values were higher than the values recommended in Consensus-Based Sediment Quality Guidelines of Wisconsin.
The pollution of river sediments with heavy metals were assessed by using sediment pollution indexes such as geo-accumulation index (I-geo), pollution load index (PLI), contamination factor (Cf), contamination degree (Cd), enrichment factor (EF). According to Geo-accumulation index (I-geo) all stations in the average value are unpolluted for Ni, Cr, Fe and Mn. The situation is different for Cu metal, the samples are moderately polluted.
The research proved a strong positive correlation between the concentrations of metals in the sediment and all common reed organs (rhizome, stem and leave). Accumulated metals in the common reed are not distributed evenly, but there are target organs for bioaccumulation. Concentrations in below ground organs were usually higher than above ground organs, and the general decreasing trend of element content was rhizome + root > leaves + stems.
In this study was carried out to investigate the accumulation of heavy metals in five sampling Bass fish in two periods. The concentrations (mg/kg or μg/g draw weight) of these metals ranged from 0.009 to 0.061 for lead (Pb), 0.023 to 0.039 for cadmium (Cd), and 0.033 to 0.072 for mercury (Hg). These levels were lower than the permissible limits set by the European Commission and FAO/WHO.