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Risk assessment of heavy metal pollution in middle stretch of river Ganga: an introspection

Author Affiliations

  • 1Department of Biotechnology, Chhatrapati Shahu Ji Maharaj University, Kanpur, UP, India
  • 2Department of Zoology and Environmental Science, Gurukula Kangri Vishwavidyalaya, Haridwar, UK, India
  • 3Department of Biotechnology, Chhatrapati Shahu Ji Maharaj University, Kanpur, UP, India and Department of Zoology and Environmental Science, Gurukula Kangri Vishwavidyalaya, Haridwar, UK, India

Int. Res. J. Environment Sci., Volume 6, Issue (2), Pages 62-71, February,22 (2017)


The present review focuses on water quality of the river Ganga with respect to heavy metals and their toxicity effects on fish and human health. Some heavy metals like copper, cadmium, lead and chromium are the main pollutants of river Ganga which affect aquatic life and human health. The pollution status of river Ganga in the middle stretch was described in terms of heavy metal concentration and physical appearance of river water due to presence of organic and inorganic pollutants. The reported value of metal concentration in the river Ganga and its major tributaries such as Ramganga, Kali, Yamuna and Gomati are as: Cr (Ganga,0.00-366.91µg/L >Yamuna,3.245-290 µg/L >Kali, 3.00-200 µg/L > Ramganga,0.00-108.7 µg/L > Gomati,1.5-68.8 µg/L), Cu (Ganga,10.00-140.64 µg/L > Ramganga,57.15-99.10 µg/L > Yamuna,00.871- 84.88 µg/L >1.3-4.3 µg/L), Cd (Yamuna,00.018 - 330 µg/L > Kali,2.00-80 µg/L > Ganga,0.6-36 µg/L > Gomati 0.1-0.5 µg/L ), Pb (Kali,22-340µg/L > Yamuna,0.067-254 µg/L > Ganga,4.7- 86.9 µg/L > Ramganga,10.1-48.92 µg/L > Gomati,15.8-27.6 µg/L). These reported values of heavy metal concentration were compared with BIS, USEPA, ICMR, CPCB and WHO standards. The values in the water are above permissible limit which may have potential health risks to aquatic ecosystem and organisms living around Ganga river basin. These metals accumulate into the fish tissues and cause damage to the its body organs like central nervous system, kidneys, lungs, liver, bone and endocrine glands. Thus, the objective of this review is to i. give an insight about pollution status in the middle stretch of river Ganga, ii. collect the information of heavy metal concentration present in the river Ganga and its tributaries, and iii. provide the information about pollution index, bioconcentration factor, bioaccumulation factor, biomagnification factor, homeostasis of metal ions and toxicity effects of Pb, Cu, Cr and Cd on fish and human health.


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