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    Researchers identify heavy metal pollution across Cauvery river basin in Tamil Nadu

    Researchers identify heavy metal pollution across Cauvery river basin in Tamil Nadu

    New Delhi. River pollution is a cause of concern in India as almost 45 rivers have at least two toxic heavy metals beyond the permissible limits. A group of researchers from Bharathidasan University, Tamil Nadu, has found that several anthropogenic activities in the recent decades have led to the deposition of metal and other pollutants in Cauvery river basin in Tamil Nadu

    In the study, traces of elements were detectedin water and soil samples of the Cauvery river basin,which might be influenced by several anthropogenicactivities. Among other reasons, seasonal idol immersion activity was reported as one of the main sources of pollution. The concentration factor and geo-accumulationindex revealed that soil samples of the Cauvery riverbasin were highly contaminated by Cadmium. The presence of other metals was less. “The immersion ofthe seasonal idol may not create any strong impactson the distribution of metal in the Cauveryriverbecauseof its streamflow. However, when the river water ends upinto the sea, these metal pollutants arising from theimmersions of idols would have a negative impact in thewaters and sediments of the Bay of Bengal” says the published research paper.

    In the study, a total of 29 water and topsoil samples were collected from the Cauvery basin before and after idol immersion, and were evaluated for the presence of metals. The experimental results showed elevated Cadmium and Lead levels in water and sediment samples of both Cauvery and Kollidam rivers. Strong statistical significance was observed for all the elements studied in the soil samples collected before and after idol immersion (P < 0.01). Industrial effluents, textile waste, untreated sewage, municipal waste and agricultural activities are the most common causes of elevated levels of heavy metals in the study area.

    Further, geo-accumulation index and pollution load index studies showed lesser impact of idol immersion on metal distribution compared to other sites reported from India. The concentration of heavy metals varied for different stations, which could be attributed to idol immersion activity or any other source of pollution. However, strict regulatory policies of the concerned authorities help maintain the quality of the Cauvery basin.


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