Environmental Earth Sciences

, Volume 71, Issue 9, pp 3963–3975 | Cite as

Historical environmental pollution trend and ecological risk assessment of trace metals in marine sediments off Adyar estuary, Bay of Bengal, India

  • S. Veerasingam
  • R. Venkatachalapathy
  • T. Ramkumar
Original Article


Geochemical, mineralogical and textural analyses were carried out in core sediments off Adyar estuary, Bay of Bengal, India to record the contamination trend from urban and industrial activities during the historical past. Quartz, feldspar, kaolinite, chlorite and illite were the main lithogenic and clay minerals; carbonate was the predominant biogenic mineral. Trace metals (Fe, Al, Cu, Cr, Ni, Pb and Zn) indicate more enrichment in the surface sediment layers due to recent anthropogenic activities. The mean anthropogenic factor (AF) values for trace metals in core sediments decreased in the following order: Cr > Ni > Zn > Cu > Pb. The pollution load index (PLI) values in Adyar core sediments ranged from 1 to 1.25 with an average of 1.07. Based on AF, PLI, and sediment quality guidelines values for trace metals, significant metal enrichment and ecological risk were obtained in upper-most sediment layer. Multivariate statistical methods such as correlation matrix, principal component analysis and cluster analysis were carried out to find the relationships among the texture size, metals and minerals. The pollution of Adyar estuarine sediments was started in the 1960s, responding to the rapid economic development in Chennai coastal and Adyar estuarine region in the last five decades. Despite these high concentrations in the upper layer, development and expansion of industries are still continuing. The stricter regulations for the discharge and remediation of sediments are urgent for the conservation of environments and human health.


Marine sediments Trace metals Clay minerals Anthropogenic factor Pollution load index Ecological risk 



This study has been carried out in the frame work of the MoES Research Project (Project No.: MoES/11-MRDF/1/13/P/07), New Delhi. The authors wish to thank the Director, Faculty of Marine Sciences, Annamalai University for providing all necessary facilities. We thank the crew of R\V Sagar Paschimi for their help during sample collection.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Veerasingam
    • 1
    • 2
  • R. Venkatachalapathy
    • 3
  • T. Ramkumar
    • 4
  1. 1.CSIR–National Institute of OceanographyDona PaulaIndia
  2. 2.Department of PhysicsAnnamalai UniversityAnnamalainagar, ChidambaramIndia
  3. 3.Centre of Advanced Study in Marine Biology, Faculty of Marine SciencesAnnamalai UniversityParangipettaiIndia
  4. 4.Department of Earth SciencesAnnamalai UniversityAnnamalainagar, ChidambaramIndia

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