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Higher Level of Toxic Heavy Metals in various Wetlands of Odisha


  • High levels of carcinogenic heavy metals like lead and chromium have been found in eight wetlands of Odisha, according to a new study published in journal Scientific Reports.


  • The term 'heavy metals' usually refers to naturally elements with density greater than 5.0 gram cubic cm.
  • Toxic heavy metals such as nickel (Ni), cadmium (Cd), mercury (Hg), lead (Pb), copper (Cu), manganese (Mn), arsenic (As), chromium (Cr), iron (Fe), and zinc (Zn) are capable enough to cause serious threat to marine ecosystem due to their toxicity and ability to enter the food chain.
  • These heavy metals in water enter in the bodies of aquatic organisms, and accumulate in different organs of these organisms like liver, kidney, etc.
  • Humans get in the influence of these heavy metals in two ways.
  • Firstly, when people consume such contaminated seafoods, they would be suffering multiple organ damage, cancerous disease or even death.
  • Or secondly, such metal could enter the crops through soil, which are then consumed by humans.

Study Findings:-

  • To examine about the wetland pollution, three things were done:
    • Study of the wetlands soils for the accumulation of heavy metals such as lead, chromium, copper, zinc, etc.
    • Assess the ecological risk of wetlands inside the agricultural landscape.
    • Study of the human risk potential of lead and chromium.
  • Eight wetlands were selected and 144 samples were collected:
    • Natural ones such as Chandaneshwar, Chilika, Daringbadi and Koraput.
    • Constructed ones like Bhadrak, Hirakud, Talcher, and Titlagarh.
  • Highest concentrations of lead (51.25 mg per gram) and chromium (266 mg per gram) in Hirakud.
  • Highest concentrations of copper was found at Bhadrak site (34.27 mf per gram) and Koraput showed a higher abundance of zinc.
  • The ecological risk index measures the potential ecological risk (RI) factor of all metals tested together.
  • Highest RI was found in Hirakud, followed by Talcher, Bhadrak, Titlagarh, Chilika, Chandaneswar, Koraput and Daringbadi.
  • For carcinogenic risk, Hirakud topped the list.

Source - Down To Earth

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