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Exploring the impact of heavy metals toxicity in the aquatic ecosystem

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The toxic effects of heavy metals have grown to be a global concern in recent years, posing an enormous threat to both aquatic ecosystems and biodiversity. Heavy metals are introduced to aquatic systems as a result of industrialization, mining, agricultural runoff, and a range of other natural activities, such as the weathering of rocks and volcanic activity. Increasing amounts of heavy metals in aquatic ecosystems have been linked to anthropogenic activities, which are largely responsible for their increasing levels. Fish population exposure to heavy metals has been associated with a few health hazards that can be attributed to repeated contact with them. The presence of heavy metals in aquatic ecosystems has negative effects on the quality of the water, hydrogen ion concentrations, dissolved oxygen concentrations, and turbidity of the water and has devastating effects on aquatic biota, including plankton, fish that are present, and benthos. Several heavy metals are known to cause harmful effects on the growth and development of fish, as well as the reproductive and respiratory systems of those fish. Examples include cd, Pb, Hg, Cu, and Zn. Heavy metal toxicity also impairs feeding, breeding, and fish behavior. A significant amount of heavy metals is accumulating in aquatic ecosystems that can lead to their bio-magnification in the food chain as well as disrupting the aquatic food cycle due to increased heavy metal pollution. Heavy metal pollution will increase the risk of extinction for vulnerable species as a result of increased heavy metal pollution. A number of strategies are employed for the remediation of water resources by removing these heavy metals from them, such as bioremediation and phytoremediation. The aim of this review is to evaluate the toxicity of heavy metals in the aquatic ecosystem as a possible threat to biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, and to evaluate the various strategies involved in removing these heavy metals from the environment.

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All the authors duly acknowledge and thankful to Central University of Himachal Pradesh for providing the necessary facilities and access to the scientific journals.


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The authors Munish Sharma and Ravi Kant contributed to the study design, data collection, and manuscript preparation. Arvind Kumar Sharma and Amit Kumar Sharma contributed to writing–review, editing of the manuscript, and supervising the whole experimental study. Amit Kumar Sharma designed the whole research study and supervised the work.

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Correspondence to A. K. Sharma.

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Sharma, M., Kant, R., Sharma, A.K. et al. Exploring the impact of heavy metals toxicity in the aquatic ecosystem. Int J Energ Water Res (2024).

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