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Sediment Quality Assessment and Management: Insight and Progress Edited by M. Munawar© 2003 Ecovision World Monograph Series Aquatic Ecosystem Health & Management Society Monitoring of concentrations of heavy metals in water, sediment and fish in the River Ganga, India *M.A. Khan, R.S. Panwar, A.K. Mathur, R. Jetly Central Inland capture Fisheries Research Institute, Barrackpore - 743 101, West Bengal, India. *, mak_1943@ Keywords: lead, chromium, cadmium, Rita rita, water quality Introduction The Ganga River originates in the Garhwal-Himalayas (300 55' N, 70 0 7' E) from the Gaumukh glacier at an altitude of 4100 m ASL. The Ganga River alongwith its tributaries (Yamuna, Ghagra, Kosi, Ramganga and Damodar etc.) are considered as the most important riverine system in Indian subcontinent, having a combined length of 12,500 km. During its course of 2525 km from Himalayas to Bay of Bengal, the river passes through 9- Indian states. The Ganga basin receives annual runoff of 48.96 million hectare meter (m ha m) from a catchment area of 96.6 m ha. The river with drainage basin of 1.1 million km2 carries an annual sediment load of 1.46 million ton which is next to yellow-river of China (16 billion ton). The Gangetic plane is the centre of industrial, agricultural and anthropogenic activities. There are 317 industries located in 692 towns and cities. Only a few industries follow some pollution control measures and others directly discharge the toxic effluents in the Ganga. It has been estimated that this discharge generates a BOD load of 1.166 million kg day-1. The domestic sewage discharge has been estimated at 1528.1 million m 3 generating a total BOD load of 2.504 million kg day-1. The agriculture sector in the Ganga basin drains fresh water to the tune of 134.84 million cubic metre and generate waste discharge to the extent of 26,896 million cubic metre. Fertilisers used in agricultural activities in the Ganga basin release nitrogen content of about 887133 t, phosphate 137445 t and potassium 91247 t. 158 Similarly, pesticides mainly DDT and BHC-Y are consumed to the extent of 2573 t for pest control measures (Das Gupta, 1984). On account of sewage and industrial discharges heavy metals load, BOD, and nutrients level have increased in the river at the cost of fish production. The Ganga harbours 265 species of fishes (Talwar and Jhingran, 1991) including famous Gangetic major carps and mighty game fish mahseer. Of late, due to above mentioned anthropocentric activities, adverse impact has been exerted on biota especially prized major carps and consequently their population has declined from an average of about 25 kg ha-1 y-1 in 1958-61 to a low of 2.55 kg ha-1 y-1 1989-1995 (Sinha, 2000). The Ganga has been subjected to intensive scientific studies mainly pertaining to fish and fisheries, plankton and benthos ecology and estimation of water quality by numerous investigators including Ray and David (1966), Pahwa and Mahrotra (1966), Pahwa (1977), Natarajan (1989), Jhingran (1989), Khan et al. (1996), and Sinha et al. (1998) to mention a few among many others. However, studies on management of sediments and concentration of heavy metals in water, sediments and fish are a few. The survey of literature revealed that Jhingran and Joshi (1987), Ajmal et al. (1987), and Singh et al. (1993) have realized some studies on the above aspects in Ganga and its main tributaries. While, Vass et al. (1997), Ghosh and Mukhopadhyay (2000) and Ghosh et al. (2000-MS) have conducted Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) studies in lower region of the Ganga which present a diverse ecosystem due to tidal influence. Therefore, there is hardly any information available on EIA with reference to impact of hazardous metals in middle stretch that is subjected to intensive anthropogenic activities due to enormous pollutantsdischargedintheriver.Tofillinthisgap,itwasthoughtprudenttoundertake EIA studies with reference to certain heavy metals (Pb, Cr, and Cd) which are very toxic to fish and other aquatic invertebrates (Dorfman, 1977). Material and methods Samples of water, sediments and test fish Rita rita (a silurid catfish) were collected from 450 km mid- stretch of river Ganga such as Kanpur, Allahabad, Mirzapur, Varanasi and Ghazipur for estimation of 3- heavy metals such as lead, chromium and cadmium. Water samples from each centre were collected three times in a year: winter (November-February), summer (March-June) and monsoon (JulyOctober ) during 1993-1994.Water samples were collected from upstream...


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