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Composition of heavy metals in sediment, water, and fish of the Ganga and Yamuna Rivers in two major cities of India

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Abstract

The rapid industrial development in the Indian capital region has led to significant waste generation, which, despite undergoing treatment prior to disposal, contributes substantially to water body contamination. Given the diverse nature of these wastes and their potential repercussions across the food chain, a study was conducted to evaluate heavy metal contamination levels in the Ganga and Yamuna Rivers of two major cities. Six heavy metals (Pb, Cd, Hg, Cu, Cr, and Zn) were analyzed in fish, water, and sediment samples by utilizing flame atomic absorption spectrophotometry (Avanta Σ) from March 2019 to February 2020. Results revealed distinct heavy metal distribution patterns, with Cr > Zn > Pb > Cu > Cd > Hg in the Ganga River and Zn > Cr > Pb > Cu > Cd > Hg in the Yamuna River for fish samples. Additionally, levels of Hg in Cyprinus carpio and Sperata oar from the Ganga River, and Pb, Cd, Hg, and Cr in Salmophasia bacaila and Mystus cavasius from the Yamuna River exceeded WHO/FAO permissible limits. In water samples, the predominant heavy metal sequences were Pb > Cu > Zn > Cr > Cd > Hg for the Ganga River and Cr > Zn > Pb > Cu > Cd > Hg for the Yamuna River, with Pb, Cr, Zn, and Cd surpassing WHO standards. Sediment analysis revealed varying heavy metal compositions, with Zn > Cr > Pb > Cu > Cd > Hg in the Ganga River and Cr > Zn > Pb > Cu > Cd > Hg in the Yamuna River. While drinking water and fish from the Ganga River were deemed safe for consumption, those from the Yamuna River were not. Given the toxic nature of heavy metals and their detrimental health impacts, regular monitoring and effective management strategies are imperative.

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Data availability

The data that support the findings of this study are available on request from the corresponding author. The data are not publicly available due to privacy or ethical restrictions.

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Acknowledgements

The authors are thankful to the Head of Department, Department of Veterinary Pharmacology & Toxicology, College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences and Department of Fisheries Resource Management, College of Fisheries, Govind Ballabh Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar, Udham Singh Nagar, for heavy metals analysis in and sample digestion their laboratories. The author is also very grateful to the Advisor and all committee teem for their valuable suggestions and guidance during the whole research period.

Funding

The author(s) reveal the beneficiary of the financial assistance for this research work. This work was supported by the fellowship received by the corresponding author from Govind Ballabh Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar, Udham Singh Nagar.

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Sumit Kumar: Conceptualization, Resources, Methodology, Data Curation, Writing—Original Draft, Writing—Review & Editing; Amita Saxena: Writing, Formal Analysis, Validation, Visualization. R K Srivatava: Writing, Data Curation, Data Analysis, Resources, Validation, S B Singh: Visualization, Resources, Data Curation, Formal analysis. R N Ram Resources, Data Curation, Formal analysis; Parvaiz Ahmad Ganie: Data Curation, Resources, Visualization, Formal analysis, Review & Editing; Ravindra Posti: Writing, Resources, Formal analysis; Nityanand Pandey: Writing, Investigation, Supervision, Data Curation, Investigation.

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Correspondence to Sumit Kumar.

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Kumar, S., Saxena, A., Srivastava, R.K. et al. Composition of heavy metals in sediment, water, and fish of the Ganga and Yamuna Rivers in two major cities of India. Environ Monit Assess 196, 612 (2024). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10661-024-12777-x

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