Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 160, Issue 1–4, pp 207–213 | Cite as

Assessment and occurrence of various heavy metals in surface water of Ganga river around Kolkata: a study for toxicity and ecological impact

  • Md. Wasim Aktar
  • M. Paramasivam
  • M. Ganguly
  • S. Purkait
  • Daipayan Sengupta


A study was conducted during November, 2005–October, 2006 to evaluate the surface water quality of river Ganga around Kolkata. The samples were analyzed for a number of physico-chemical parameters using standard laboratory procedures and giving prime thrust to determine the heavy metal concentrations (Fe, Mn, Cu, Zn, Pb, Cd, Cr, and Ni) of surface water at four different locations of the river Ganga around Kolkata from two points (middle of the river stream and a discharge point) at each location. Out of 96 samples analyzed, Fe, Mn, Cu, Zn, and Ni were detected in 71, 47, 38, 60, and 45 samples in the concentrations ranging from 0.013 to 5.49, 0.022 to 1.78, 0.003 to 0.033, 0.005 to 0.293, and 0.045 to 0.24 mg L − 1, respectively. Cd and Pb were detected in six and 21 samples in the range of 0.005 to 0.006 and 0.05 to 0.53 mg L − 1, respectively. But Cr was not detected in any of the samples analyzed. The metals exhibited no significant variation with respect to sampling locations as well as discharge points. However, the concentration of those metals varied with season, being higher in rainy and lower in winter season.


Heavy metals Physico-chemical constituents Ganga water Contamination West Bengal 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Abbasi, S. A., Abbasi, N., & Soni, R. (1998). Heavy metal in the environment (1st ed., 225 pp). New Delhi: Mital.Google Scholar
  2. American Public Health Association (APHA) (1999). Standard methods for the examination of water and wastewater (20th ed.). Washington D.C.: APHA, AWWA.Google Scholar
  3. Ammann, A. A., Michalke, B., & Schramel, P. (2002). Speciation of heavy metals in environmental water by ion chromatography coupled to ICP–MS. Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, 372, 448–452. doi:10.1007/s00216-001-1115-8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bhargava, D. S. (1983). Use of a water quality index for river classification and zoning of Ganga River. Environmental Pollution, 6, 51–67 (Series B).Google Scholar
  5. BIS (Bureau of Indian Standard) (1991). Indian standards drinking water specification, Indian Standard 10500.Google Scholar
  6. Bordalo, A. A., Nilsumranchist, W., & Chalermwat, K. (2001). Water quality and uses of the Bangpakong river (Eastern Thailand). Water Research, 35, 3635–3642. doi:10.1016/S0043-1354(01)00079-3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bruins, M. R., Kapil, S., & Oehme, F. W. (2000). Microbial resistance to metals in the environment. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, 45, 198–207. doi:10.1006/eesa.1999.1860.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Das, R. K., Bhowmick, S., Ghosh, S. P., & Dutta, S. (1997). Coliform and fecal coliform bacterial load in a stretch of hooghly. In K. K. Vass & M. Sinha (Eds.), Proceedings of the national seminar on changing perspectives of Inland Fisheries. Inland Fisheries Society of India, Barrackpore, March 16–17, 1997, pp. 41–45.Google Scholar
  9. Dean-Ross, D., & Mills, A. L. (1989). Bacterial community structure and function along a heavy metal gradient. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 55, 2002–2009.Google Scholar
  10. EPA (1979). Methods for chemical analysis of waters, method 353.3. Washington D.C.: US. EPA.Google Scholar
  11. Ghosh, S., & Vass, K. K. (1997). Role of sewage treatment plant in Environmental Mitigation. In K. K. Vass & M. Sinha (Eds.), Proceedings of the national seminar on changing perspectives of Inland Fisheries (pp. 36–40). Inland Fisheries Society of India, Barrackpore, March 16–17, 1997.Google Scholar
  12. Gonzalez, M. J., Fernandez, M., & Hernandez, L. M. (1990). Influence of acid mine water in the distribution of heavy metal in soils of Donana National Park. Application of multivariate analysis. Environmental Technology, 11, 1027–1038.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gupta, S. K., Mitra, A., & Adhikari, S. (1990). Post irrigation effect of Calcutta sewage effluents on soil and vegetation. In Proceedings of the National Symposium on Protection of Environment of City Water Fronts. Central Water Commission, New Delhi, IV, 7–13.Google Scholar
  14. Hatje, V., Bidone, E. D., & Maddock, J. L. (1998). Estimation of the natural and anthropogenic components of heavy metal fluxes in fresh water Sinos river, Rio Grande do Sul state, South Brazil. Environmental Technology, 19, 483–487. doi:10.1080/09593331908616704.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. ISI (Indian Standard Institute) (1982). Indian standard tolerance limits for inland surface water subject to pollution (2nd revision). Indian Standard: 2296.Google Scholar
  16. Jain, V. K. (1978). Studies on effect of Cadmium on the growth pattern of Phaseolus aurius varieties, Absi, I. Bot. Conf. JIBS., pp. 57–84.Google Scholar
  17. Jarvie, H. P., Whitton, B. A., & Neal, C. (1998). Nitrogen and phosphorus in east coast British Rivers: speciation, sources and biological significance. Science of the Total Environment, 210–211, 79–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Johnson, F. M. (1998). The genetic effects of environmental lead. Mutation Research, 410, 123–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Jonnalagadda, S. B., & Mhere, G. (2001). Water quality of the Odzi river in the Eastern highlands of Zimbabwe. Water Research, 35, 2371–2376.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Jonnalagadda, S. B., Mathuthu, A. S., Odipo, R. W., & Wandiga, S. D. (1991). River pollution in developing countries: A case study III: Effect of industrial discharges on quality of Ngong river waters in Kenya. Bulletin of Chemical Society in Ethiopia, 5, 49–64.Google Scholar
  21. Joshi, H. C. (1992). Environmental mediated stress on flood plain lakes. II-Pesticides and agricultural run-off. In Y. S. Yadav & V. V. Suguman (Eds.), Compendium of FAO sponsored Foodplain Fish Mgmt. Central Inland Capture Fisheries Institute Barrackpore.Google Scholar
  22. Khan, Y. S. A., Hussain, M. S., Hossain, S. M. G., & Hallimuzzaman, A. H. M. (1998). An environmental assessment of trace metals in Ganges–Brahamputra–Meghna Estuary. Journal of Remote Sensing and Environment, 2, 103–117.Google Scholar
  23. Lantzy, R. J., & Mackenzie, F. T. (1979). Atmospheric trace metals: Global cycles and assessment of man’s impact. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 43, 511–525.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Marschner, H. (1995). Mineral nutrition of higher plants. London: Academic.Google Scholar
  25. Mathuthu, A. S., Zaranyika, F. M., & Jonnalagadda, S. B. (1993). Monitoring of water quality in upper Mukuvisi river in Harare, Zimbabwe. Environment International, 19, 51–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Miller, W. W., Joung, H. H., Mahannah, C. N., & Garrett, J. R. (1986). Identification of water quality differences in Nevada through index application. Journal of Environmental Quality, 15, 265–272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Munshi, J. S. D., Mishra, A. N., Munshi, J. D., Aditya, A. K., & Halder, P. (2000). Heavy metal pollution of Subernarekha river: Its ecological impact on water quality and biota. Biodiversity and Environment. In Proceedings of the National Seminar on Environmental Biology (pp. 63–78). Visva Bharati University, Santiniketan, India, April 3–5, 1998.Google Scholar
  28. Nriagu, J. O. (1979). Global inventory of natural and anthropogenic emissions of trace metals to the atmosphere. Nature, 279, 409–411.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Ross, S. M. (1994). Toxic metals in soil–plant systems. Chichester: Wiley.Google Scholar
  30. Sharma, R. K., Gupta, S. S., & Jain, O. P. (1996). Water quality index and aspects of pollution in Haldi river of Bhopal region. Journal of Ecotoxicology and Environmental Monitoring, 6, 181–187.Google Scholar
  31. Simeonov, V., Stratis, J. A., Samara, C., Zahariadis, G., Voutsa, D., Anthemidis, A., et al. (2003). Assessment of the surface water quality in Northern Greece. Water Research, 37, 4119–4124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Simeonov, V., Simeonova, P., & Tisitouridou, R. (2004). Chemometric quality assessment of surface waters: Two case studies. Chemical and Engineering Ecology, 11(6), 449–469.Google Scholar
  33. Tiwari, T. N., & Ali, M. (1988). Water quality index for Indian rivers. In R. K. Trivedy (Ed.), Ecology and pollution of Indian rivers (1st ed., pp. 271–286). New Delhi: Ashish.Google Scholar
  34. Tsuji, L. J. S., & Karagatzides, J. D. (2001). Chronic lead exposure, body condition and testis mass in wild mallard ducks. Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 67, 489–495.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Md. Wasim Aktar
    • 1
  • M. Paramasivam
    • 1
  • M. Ganguly
    • 2
  • S. Purkait
    • 2
  • Daipayan Sengupta
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Agricultural ChemicalsBidhan Chandra Krishi ViswavidyalayaNadiaIndia
  2. 2.Department of Agricultural Chemistry and Soil Science, Institute of Agricultural ScienceUniversity of CalcuttaKolkataIndia

Personalised recommendations