Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 6, pp 6023–6037 | Cite as

Assessment of organochlorine pesticides in the Himalayan riverine ecosystems from Pakistan using passive sampling techniques

  • Rizwan Ullah
  • Rehana Asghar
  • Mujtaba BaqarEmail author
  • Adeel Mahmood
  • Syeda Nazish Ali
  • Muhammad Sohail
  • Ralf B. Schäfer
  • Syed Ali Musstjab Akber Shah EqaniEmail author
Research Article


Organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) pose a considerable threat to human and environmental health. Despite most OCPs have been banned, they are still reported to be used in developing countries, including Pakistan. We aimed to identify the distribution, origin, mobility, and potential risks from OCPs in three major environmental compartments, i.e., air, water, and soil, across Azad Jammu and Kashmir valley, Pakistan. The sums of OCPs ranged between 66 and 530 pg/g in soil, 5 and 13 pg/L in surface water, and 14 and 191 pg/m3 in air, respectively. The highest sum of OCPs was observed in the downstream zone of a river that was predominantly influenced by peri-urban and urban areas. The OCP isomers ratios (α-HCH/γ-HCH and o,p′-DDT/p,p′-DDT) indicate use of lindane and technical DDTs mixture as a source of HCH and DDT in the riverine environment. Similarly, the ratios of DDE and DDD/the sum of DDTs, α-endosulfan/β-endosulfan, and cis-chlordane/trans-chlordane indicate recent use of DDTs, endosulfan, and chlordane in the region. The air-water exchange fugacity ratios indicate net volatilization (fw/fa > 1) of α-endosulfan and trans-chlordane, and net deposition (fw/fa < 1) of β-endosulfan, α-HCH, γ-HCH p,p′-DDD, p,p′-DDE, and p,p′-DDT. Based on the risk quotient (RQ) method, we consider the acute ecological risks for fish associated with the levels of OCPs as negligible. However, more studies are recommended to evaluate the chronic ecological risks to other riverine-associated aquatic and terrestrial species as well as human health risks to the POPs exposure through food chain transfer in forthcoming years.


Organochlorine pesticides Passive sampling Air-water exchange Ecological risk Azad Jammu and Kashmir 

Supplementary material

11356_2018_3987_MOESM1_ESM.doc (1 mb)
ESM 1 (DOC 1055 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rizwan Ullah
    • 1
    • 2
  • Rehana Asghar
    • 1
  • Mujtaba Baqar
    • 3
    Email author
  • Adeel Mahmood
    • 4
  • Syeda Nazish Ali
    • 3
  • Muhammad Sohail
    • 5
  • Ralf B. Schäfer
    • 6
  • Syed Ali Musstjab Akber Shah Eqani
    • 5
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of BiotechnologyMirpur University of Science and Technology (MUST)MirpurPakistan
  2. 2.Department of ZoologyMirpur University of Science and Technology (MUST)MirpurPakistan
  3. 3.Sustainable Development Study CentreGovernment College UniversityLahorePakistan
  4. 4.Department of Environmental SciencesGovernment College Women UniversitySialkotPakistan
  5. 5.Ecohealth and Environment Lab, Department of BiosciencesCOMSATS UniversityIslamabadPakistan
  6. 6.Institute for Environmental SciencesUniversity of Koblenz-LandauLandau in der PfalzGermany

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