Elemental distribution in urban sediments of small waterbodies and its implications: a case study from Kolkata, India

Article Type

Research Article

Publication Title

Environmental Geochemistry and Health


The impacts of elemental pollution in sediments of freshwater bodies are of particular concern in rapidly urbanizing cities of the developing world and have been extensively studied in rivers and lakes. The current study is an attempt to highlight the importance of smaller waterbodies, which happen to form a natural network in cities, for assessing the contamination status of sediments. The distribution of elements (Al, Ca, Fe, K, Mg, S, Si, Ti, Ba, Mn, Sr, V, As, Cr, Cu, Ni, Pb and Zn) in sediments of 15 ponds and 6 canals was studied to understand the overall pollution status and the associated ecological risk to aquatic organisms. Geochemical indices revealed Cr, Cu, Pb and Zn to be the principal elements of concern. The mean concentration of Cr, Cu, Pb and Zn was 308, 174, 76.9 and 446 mg kg−1, respectively. Ecological risk assessment revealed that Cr in 86% sites, Ni in 52% sites, Cu and Zn in 28% sites and Pb in 10% sites were associated with possible ecological toxicity. The findings suggest that multielemental concentration in sediments of ponds and canals could effectively distinguish between pristine and polluted sites and suitably identify the main elements of concern to support cost-efficient waste management solutions customized to both the sites and elements of concern.

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