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The ritual of idol immersion and the aquatic environment surrounding us: a study of water quality and itís inhabitants of the Ganga River and Immersion Pond in Kolkata, India

Author Affiliations

  • 1Department of Laboratory Medicine, North City Diagnostic Centre, Kolkata, India
  • 2Dept. of Biochemistry, KPC Medical College and Hospital, Kolkata, West Bengal, India

Int. Res. J. Environment Sci., Volume 6, Issue (12), Pages 9-13, December,22 (2017)

Abstract

The aquatic environment, controlling the state of health of fishes, is severely affected by common toxic pollutants like Lead (Pb) in surface water. During certain festivals, idols are immersed in Ganga or nearby ponds and lakes, with a rough estimation of around 950 idols in the Ganga from Babughat alone and about 200 in the New Town Immersion pond in Kolkata, India. Chemical paints used on the idols contain high amount of Lead, leading to alteration in the water quality, pH, temperature and total dissolved solid (TDS) load. Yellow, red, orange and white pigments contain the most amount of Pb, and are toxic even in very small quantity, entering the human system through food chain, and bioaccumulate and biomagnify. In this study, the water quality of Ganga river and Immersion pond in New Town, Kolkata are measured during Pre-immersion, Immersion and Post-immersion phases, and the risk assessment of the health effects on fish consumption from these areas are attempted. Water and fish samples are measured, from the immersion pond of New Town, Kolkata, and Babughat, Ganga river bank, for Pb content, and water temperature, turbidity and conductivity, during pre-immersion, immersion and post-immersion phases. Pb content in the water, which was high to begin with, raised severely beyond permissible limits during immersion phase and continued to remain so during post immersion phase. The Pb content in the organs of Tilapia fish from the Immersion pond showed Pb content beyond permissible limits in post immersion phase. A significant increase in temperature is noted in both sites during immersion, affecting the aquatic life. The pH becomes acidic during immersion phase, resulting in faster heavy metal release rate and producing leaching. Electrical conductivity shoots up way beyond permissible limits, producing harmful gases. Turbidity too was severely increased during immersion phase, reducing photosynthesis by aquatic plants.

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